San Diego Law Review


Arthur C. Leahy

Library of Congress Authority File


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In Mistretta v. United States, the Unites States Supreme Court upheld the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 against contentions that the Act was a constitutional violation of the separation of powers doctrine. This Note analyzes the Court's reasoning with respect to the separation of powers doctrine. The analysis reveals that, in Mistretta and other recent cases, the Court has departed from its traditional mode of analysis in favor of a new model. This trend is found to be misguided in that it incorrectly interprets the Framers' intent. This misrepresentation leads to the use of incorrect factors in analyzing separation of powers issues and, therefore, incorrect decisions. The ultimate result is that the separation of powers doctrine is eviscerated and in turn the "structure" of government, which ensures individual rights and personal freedom, is threatened. In conclusion, a return to the traditional method of dealing with separation of powers issues is advocated because it is more reflective of the Framers' intent and more likely to preserve the structure of our government and, thus, liberty.

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