News Release

June 7, 2013

Contact: Jeanne Doherty

Public Affairs Officer

(202) 502-4502



Rachel E. Barkow; Judge Charles R. Breyer; and Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. Added as Members of the United States Sentencing Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. ― The United States Senate yesterday unanimously confirmed the nominations of three new members of the United States Sentencing Commission: Rachel E. Barkow of New York, Judge Charles R. Breyer of California, and Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. of Alabama.

“We are extremely pleased to once again have a complete slate of commissioners as the Commission prepares to take on important and challenging issues,” Judge Patti Saris, chair of the Commission, said. “The experience of two such distinguished and thoughtful jurists as Judge Breyer and Judge Pryor will be invaluable to the Commission, and Rachel Barkow’s academic expertise in criminal law will help the Commission achieve the goals of the Sentencing Reform Act.”

Barkow is the Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy at the New York University School of Law, where she focuses her teaching and research on criminal and administrative law. She also serves as the Faculty Director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at the law school. Barkow has been a member of the faculty at the New York University School of Law since 2002 and was the Beneficial Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in the fall of 2008. She worked at the law firm of Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel, PLLC, in Washington, D.C., from 1998 to 2002. Barkow began her legal career by clerking for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from 1997 to 1998, and before that for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1996 to 1997. She received her J.D. magna cum laude in 1996 from Harvard Law School and her B.A. with distinction in 1993 from Northwestern University.

Breyer has served as a United States District Judge in the Northern District of California since 1998. Previously, he worked at the law firm now known as Coblenz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP from 1974 to 1997, with a brief stint as Chief Assistant District Attorney for San Francisco in 1979. From 1973 to 1974, Breyer worked as an Assistant Special Prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco from 1967 to 1973. Breyer began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Oliver J. Carter of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He received his J.D. in 1966 from the University of California at Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and his B.A. cum laude in 1963 from Harvard College.

Pryor has served as a United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit since 2004. He has also taught federal jurisdiction at the University of Alabama School of Law and has served as an adjunct professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Pryor served as the Attorney General of the State of Alabama from 1997 to 2004 and as a Deputy Attorney General from 1995 to 1997. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Judge Pryor practiced law in Birmingham, Alabama for seven years at the law firms of Walston, Stabler, Wells, Anderson & Bains and Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal. From 1987 to 1988, Judge Pryor served as a law clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1987 from Tulane University Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Law Review, and his B.A. magna cum laude in 1984 from Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana at Monroe).

By statute, the Commission is composed of seven voting members and two non-voting ex-officio members. No more than four commissioners may be members of the same political party, and at least three shall be federal judges. The Commission’s four other voting members are Judge Patti Saris of the District of Massachusetts (chair); Chief Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of the Southern District of Texas; Dabney L. Friedrich of Maryland; and Judge Ketanji B. Jackson of the District of Columbia.

The United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the judicial branch, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts’ sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.

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