SOTOMAYOR, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, THOMAS, GINSBURG, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.
The Sixth Amendment reserves to juries the determination of any fact, other than the fact of a prior conviction, that increases a criminal defendant’s maximum potential sentence. Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U. S. 466 (2000); Blakely v. Washington, 542 U. S. 296 (2004). We have applied this principle in numerous cases where the sentence was imprisonment or death. The question here is whether the same rule applies to sentences of criminal fines. We hold that it does.
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Violations of the RCRA are punishable by, inter alia, “a fine of not more than $50,000 for each day of violation.” §6928(d). At sentencing, the probation office set a maximum fine of $38.1 million, on the basis that Southern Union violated the RCRA for each of the 762 days from September 19, 2002, through October 19, 2004. Southern Union objected that this calculation violated Apprendi because the jury was not asked to determine the precise duration of the violation. The company noted that the verdict form listed only the violation’s approximate start date (i.e., “on or about”), and argued that the court’s instructions permitted conviction if the jury found even a 1-day violation. Therefore, Southern Union maintained, the only violation the jury necessarily found was for one day, and imposing any fine greater than the single-day penalty of $50,000 would require factfinding by the court, in contravention of Apprendi.
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. . . [W]e see no principled basis under Apprendi for treating criminal fines differently. Apprendi’s “core concern” is to reserve to the jury “the determination of facts that warrant punishment for a specific statutory offense.” Ice, 555 U. S., at 170. That concern applies whether the sentence is a criminal fine or imprisonment or death. Criminal fines, like these other forms of punishment, are penalties inflicted by the sovereign for the commission of offenses. . . . .
JUSTICE BREYER, with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY and JUSTICE ALITO join, dissenting.
Where a criminal fine is at issue, I believe the Sixth Amendment permits a sentencing judge to determine sentencing facts—facts that are not elements of the crime but are relevant only to the amount of the fine the judge will impose. Those who framed the Bill of Rights understood that “the finding of a particular fact” of this kind was ordinarily a matter for a judge and not necessarily “within ‘the domain of the jury.’” Oregon v. Ice, 555 U. S. 160, 168 (2009) (quoting Harris v. United States, 536 U. S. 545, 557 (2002) (plurality opinion)). The Court’s contrary conclusion, I believe, is ahistorical and will lead to increased problems of unfairness in the administration of our criminal justice system.