Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Fire Sale on U.S. Sovereignty, Thanks to Our Supreme Court

In a stunning decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of banning states from executing people eighteen years of age and younger. The Court openly cited Article 37 of the U.S. Convention on the Rights of a Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and laws of the United Kingdom.

This decision overturns a 1989 ruling and throws out death sentences for 72 people. Up until now, nineteen states had allowed the death penalty for those eighteen and under.

Liberal Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority writes openly of following the international community and root causes of murder among young people:

"The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood. It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for death eligibility ought to rest," Kennedy said.

The United States has stood almost alone in the world in officially sanctioning juvenile executions, a "stark reality" that can't be ignored, Kennedy wrote. Juvenile offenders have been put to death in recent years in only a few other countries, including Iran (news - web sites), Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia.

"It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty, resting in large part on the understanding that the instability and emotional imbalance of young people may often be a factor in the crime," Kennedy wrote.

And to think, this man can't be fired from his job...

Brilliant Justice Scalia offered the following angry dissent:

The appropriateness of capital punishment should be determined by individual states, not "the subjective views of five members of this court and like-minded foreigners," he wrote.
"Though the views of our own citizens are essentially irrelevant to the Court's decision today, the views of other countries and the so-called international community take center stage," he wrote.
"Unless the Court has added to its arsenal the power to join and ratify treaties on behalf of the United States, I cannot see how this evidence favors, rather than refutes, its position," wrote Scalia. "That the Senate and the President – those actors our Constitution empowers to enter into treaties ... have declined to join and ratify treaties prohibiting execution of under-18 offenders can only suggest that our country has either not reached a national consensus on the question, or has reached a consensus contrary to what the Court announces."

What this all boils down to is that these judges are forgetting that their job is to decide cases based on the U.S. Constitution. No place else!

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