Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2008


This article examines how a majority of the Supreme Court went out of its way to vacate a punitive damages award in Philip Morris and further reinforced the inconsistency with which it applies the principle of proportionality. When it comes to punitive damages awards, a majority of Justices continue to convey distrust of juries and of trial and appellate court judges who review these awards. However, when it comes to terms of imprisonment, the Court has eschewed substantive review under the Eighth Amendment while insisting that the Sixth Amendment requires that all facts supporting an increase in a sentence be found by a jury, and insists upon a deferential review of terms of imprisonment imposed by federal courts, thus expressing much greater trust of juries and judges in the criminal context, perhaps.


This article was originally published in Vol. 43 of the Tulsa Law Review, Symposium: Supreme Court Review.