Online articles by Rahman, Shakeer | Northwestern University Law Review

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November 2, 2016

What Lurks Below Beckles

In this essay, Litman and Rahman argue that if the Supreme Court grants habeas relief in this month’s Beckles v. United States, then it should spell out certain details about where a Beckles claim comes from and who such a claim benefits. Those details are not essential to the main question raised in the case, but the federal habeas statute takes away the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to hear just about any case that would raise those questions. For that reason, Litman and Rahman conclude that failing to address those questions now could arbitrarily condemn hundreds of prisoners to illegal sentences and lead to a situation where the habeas statute is unconstitutional.