This little post-Booker review is a nice object lesson in why we should force the republicans to go nuclear: Because appellate judges matter. Here's a quick review of the current Booker law in a few circuits...
"People convicted of federal crimes in Pennsylvania, Delaware or New Jersey who are challenging their sentences as overly harsh are in luck: The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from those states, is among the appeals courts routinely ordering trial judges to review sentences pending under a format the U.S. Supreme Court found unconstitutional in January.
But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, generally has taken a much more conservative tack. The New Orleans-based court has bounced back only those cases in which defendants can show that a judge clearly erred in sentencing them. The 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, has adopted the same, stricter approach."
That's a lotta years for a lot of inmates.