WASHINGTON — Justice Sonia Sotomayor took a page from Ruth Bader Ginsburg's playbook on Monday when she argued that Congress could counteract a Supreme Court ruling.
The court's unanimous decision held that the text of the First Step Act, a criminal justice overhaul enacted in 2018, does not allow certain inmates to have their sentences retroactively lowered as a result of the new guidelines.
"Indeed, the bipartisan lead sponsors of the First Step Act have urged this Court to hold that the Act 'makes retroactive relief broadly available to all individuals sentenced for crack-cocaine offenses before the Fair Sentencing Act,'" Sotomayor wrote, citing a brief by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a lead author of the law.
"Once again, the ball is in Congress’ court," she wrote, adding that "the Legislature may act" to correct what she argued was a "parsimonious reading" of the law by the justice.
Two years later, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and President Barack Obama signed it into law, effectively reversing that court ruling.
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