by Lindsay Campbell*
The Supreme Court recently denied certiorari in McClinton v. United States—a case which would have required the Court to consider whether the use of acquitted conduct in sentencing violates criminal defendants’ rights under the Constitution. This piece considers and responds to Justice Alito’s concurrence in the Court’s denial, arguing that Justice Alito misconstrues the constitutional issues presented by Petitioner’s claims. Specifically, he inaccurately conflates acquitted conduct and uncharged conduct; he overemphasizes the role stare decisis would play in the Court’s ruling; and he expresses concerns over the workability of criminal sentencing absent the use of acquitted conduct—concerns which only serve to highlight the unconstitutionality of the United States’ present sentencing scheme. If the Supreme Court were to take up this issue, Justice Alito’s considerations should not bar the Court from finding that the use of acquitted conduct in sentencing violates criminal defendants’ right to due process under the Fifth Amendment and their right to a trial by jury under the Sixth Amendment.