I Prayed have prayed
Lord, please direct our Supreme Court on the paths of justice, in this case and through this entire term. We continue to seek Your will.

Does “and” mean “and,” or does “and” mean “or?” This case shows the wide implications of our laws and the importance of how they are written. The Supreme Court’s decision here will affect how drug crimes are prosecuted everywhere.

From The Epoch Times. Lawyers and justices argued during an Oct. 2 hearing about whether “and” always means “and,” as a convicted drug dealer hoping to reduce his sentence under the First Step Act of 2018 made his case before the Supreme Court.

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The case, Pulsifer v. United States (court file 22-340), was heard on the first day of the court’s new term.

The First Step Act, a bipartisan measure approved by Congress and signed by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, reformed aspects of the criminal justice system, making it easier for the courts to reduce penalties for nonviolent drug offenders. …

‘Safety Valve’

Under the “safety valve” provision of the statute, judges are allowed to ignore mandatory minimum sentences when defendants convicted of nonviolent drug offenses present only a limited criminal history. In such cases, judges can follow the more lenient established sentencing guidelines instead.

The provision includes three requirements related to the person’s criminal track record.

The justices are considering whether defendants cease to qualify for the safety valve if they meet only one of the criteria, or if they are required to satisfy all three. …

Defendants are eligible if they do not have a lengthy criminal history, a previous serious offense, “and” a previous violent offense.

15 Years Prison for Drug Dealing

The petitioner, Mark Pulsifer, pled guilty in federal district court in Iowa to one count of distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, contrary to federal law. Because he was previously convicted of a serious drug felony, the statutory minimum penalty for the new offense was 15 years imprisonment.

Mr. Pulsifer argued that under the First Step Act, he was eligible to be sentenced under sentencing guidelines and without regard to the statutory minimum of 15 years. Under the act, his case would be evaluated under a criminal history point-based system.

The district court rejected the First Step Act argument but sentenced him under a different authority to 162 months, or 13.5 years, in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Mr. Pulsifer appealed, arguing the court erred in not applying the guideline range that would have been in effect if there were no statutory minimum.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed the trial court in July 2022.

Mr. Pulsifer’s attorney, Shay Dvoretzky, posed a rhetorical question in a brief he filed with the court:

“In other words, is a defendant eligible for safety-valve relief so long as he does not have all three of (A), (B), and (C), or is he eligible only if he does not have (A), (B), or (C)?” …

Justice Elena Kagan pushed back.

“When we look at this statute, I mean, isn’t what is most likely to have gone on here is that Congress made a completely ordinary drafting decision which said does not have A, does not have B, and does not have C? Who writes like that?” …

“We don’t keep on repeating a verb when the verb applies to everything. So that’s what Congress did here. It just took out the – rather than say ‘does not have’ three times, it took it out and put it in prefatory language, followed by three things that you shouldn’t have.” …

What do you think of this case? Share your thoughts and prayers below.

(Excerpt from The Epoch Times. Photo Credit: Al Drago/Getty Images)

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Carla Sherman
October 5, 2023

As an English major, I agree with the judge. “And” means “and.” The defendant must not have all three. If he has one of the three, he is not eligible for the special provision.
The fact that the defendant had previously been convicted of a serious offense, yet continued to break felony drug laws shows that he is not remorseful about his actions, and is trying to escape consequences of his actions. Lord, let common sense be restored to our judicial system, in Jesus’ name.

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Christina Du
October 5, 2023

Father, we in America have taken many of the blessings You gave us and defiled them. Like the prodigal son, we have squandered Your prosperity, using it to satisfy our lusts. We have used our liberties and freedoms to satisfy our flesh. We have distorted and twisted the great Constitution You gave us, turning it into a meaningless piece of paper. And we have abandoned the purpose for which You created America: partnering with You to save the world. Many Americans have repented of these things, and we continue to humble ourselves before You in repentance.

We turn our attention today to the Supreme Court of America. Through this institution, we have rejected You, life, the covenant of marriage You established, and more. We have arrogantly ruled against You, and we have paid for this rebellion with the loss of tens of millions of Americans. Today, we repent and ask for Your mercy. The blood of Jesus was sprinkled on a “Mercy Seat,” and we ask for this mercy.

We also join our prayers today with the powerful prayers issued just a few nights ago in Washington, D.C., consecrating this Court once again to You. YOU birthed America and our government. YOU instituted all government. We call the Court back under YOUR plans, purposes, precepts, and laws. We dedicate the Supreme Court to YOU and ask that You change all that needs changing. Turn hearts that need turning, and fill this branch of government and its building with Your presence once again. We ask all of this in the holy and all-powerful name of Yeshua. Amen.

Our decree:
We decree that the Supreme Court of the United States is once again consecrated and dedicated to Almighty God, Creator and Owner of all the earth.

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Susan CC
October 5, 2023

“When we call our Heavenly Father the “Lord of Hosts”, there is so much in that name. Yes, there are the myriad armies of angels at his disposal, and yes, he is a warrior, mighty in battle, but he is also the conductor of the beautiful orchestra that is the entirety of all creation. Every atom, every molecule, moves in accordance with his purposes and at his command. He sustains everything by his powerful word.” https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/what-does-lord-of-hosts-mean/

Dear Abba Father, You are Elohei Mishpat, The God of Justice and Your court is Supreme! As this is so, I pray You will direct the thinking of Justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett and Jackson, to deliver just rulings in this and each case that comes before them. I pray they exist, deliberate and decide in accordance with YOUR purpose and at YOUR command. May Your Word be sustained in each ruling.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Praise God the Father who’s the source;
Praise God the Son who is the course;
Praise God the Spirit who’s the flow;
Praise God, our portion here below!

Amen

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Michelle
October 5, 2023

I’m not English major, but the language seems rather straight forward to me. “And” means “And”.
All 3 requirements apply! This is the whole issue of the leftists wanting to ditch the constitution or revise it. They want to go back 225 years and muse over what the Founders meant.
When we have looters breaking into stores and stealing blatantly and not being held accountable for an outright crime, therein lies the central problem. It’s not the language of a statute, it’s the enforcement of it where we have gone off course.

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Alan B Callanan
October 5, 2023

when someone says does not it means does not. so if u have one you are guilty it seems simple, why should it be hard to understand?

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