Whether Members of the Sentencing Commission Who Were Appointed Prior to the Enactment of a Holdover Statute May Exercise Holdover Rights Pursuant to the Statute: Memorandum for the Attorney General [April 5, 1994]   [open pdf - 52KB]

"On August 26, 1992, the President signed 'An Act to amend [28 U.S.C. § 992] to provide [that] a member of the United States Sentencing Commission whose term has expired may continue to serve until a successor is appointed or until the expiration of the next session of Congress.' […] This memorandum addresses whether members of the Sentencing Commission (Commission) who were in office at the time the holdover statute was enacted may exercise holdover rights pursuant to the statute. We first address whether Congress intended the holdover statute to apply to commissioners who were appointed prior to its enactment. The plain meaning of the holdover provision belies any claim that it does not apply equally to incumbent commissioners and to newly appointed commissioners. By its own terms, it applies to any 'voting member of the Commission whose term has expired' regardless of when the member was appointed. Only by consulting the legislative history does any ambiguity arise regarding its application to incumbent commissioners. Even then, the legislative history of the holdover provision and the presidential signing statement provide inconclusive evidence of intent. Assuming that an examination of the legislative history is appropriate, there simply is insufficient evidence to disregard the plain meaning of the holdover provision."

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