As the famed legal scholar Yogi Berra once observed, “It’s like deja vu all over again.” Those wise words can describe the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Once again, we find ourselves with a fresh, full-strength Commission brimming with all the promise and excitement that comes with a new opportunity to reexamine federal sentencing law and practice. That is the good news. What brought us to this moment, however, is the not-so-good news, which merits a brief trip down an unpleasant memory lane. This is not the first time that the Commission has lacked a quorum. This latest and longest episode of Commission paralysis strikes us as particularly disturbing because it may reflect a widespread lack of faith in—or at least a notable dearth of enthusiasm for—the work of the Commission and the guidelines enterprise more generally. Like baseball fans on opening day, we remain hopeful about the future. The new Commissioners are well-regarded professionals who come to their common task in good faith—bringing their own, varied views. They face a mix of urgent new challenges and important enduring ones. We add our voices to those over the decades who hope that the Commissioners will think broadly (including by reexamining long-established assumptions) and act boldly.

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