Justice Stevens: U.S. shootdown of Admiral Yamamoto helped turn me against the death penalty

posted at 6:48 pm on October 30, 2007 by Allahpundit

Because trying to kill a man who’s not trying to kill you — but who is commanding hundreds of thousands of men trying to kill you — is unconscionable. Muses Volokh:

[W]here exactly is the connection to the death penalty? Consider the chief arguments against the death penalty: the person being executed might be innocent; it’s just wrong for the state to kill people; others can be kept equally safe by locking the person up for life; the death penalty is likely to be applied in arbitrary or prejudiced ways. None of them work here.

Like the man says: Pay attention, social cons.

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Will he just GO AWAY!

Iblis on October 30, 2007 at 6:54 PM

If there is ever a “Just wow” post this it it.

Just wow.

liberrocky on October 30, 2007 at 6:55 PM

I think the guy is senil. I read an article on him the other day, and i couldn’t believe the nonsense he was spewing.

Chudi on October 30, 2007 at 6:56 PM

What a mush-head.

peski on October 30, 2007 at 6:56 PM

And to think THIS guy will be ruling on trials of AL Qaeda suspects. Including Sheik Mohammaed.

Wont even fo into what would happen if Bin Laden is captured

William Amos on October 30, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Everyday we come to work and ask each other, “Has Stevens retired yet?”. Unfortunately, it kind of sets a bad tone for the day when the answer is always, “no”.

Fatal on October 30, 2007 at 7:00 PM

This is why a Republican President need to be elected to put great judges on the court, just four years of a Dem could undo all that has been done.

KBird on October 30, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Chudi on October 30, 2007 at 6:56 PM

I agree. And if not clinically senile than seemingly of diminished facilities.

sweeper on October 30, 2007 at 7:01 PM

Let’s recap: Yamamoto designed and engineered and oversaw the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Justice Stevens feels guilt & remorse for playing a small part in helping blow the afore-mentioned terrorist out of the sky and into the rising sun. By his standards, one would assume we should have informed FISA, obtained a warrant and asked Japan to honor an extradition request to put him on trial in an American courtroom?

What a frickin’ yutz.

commonsensehoosier on October 30, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Idiot, the P-38 pilots who shot down Yamamoto were not judges. They were warriors who saved countless American and Allied lives by killing, yes KILLING the most important strategic thinker fighting for our enemy. This man knew us, he lived here and studied here for years, he was an asset to our enemy and taking him out helped us to defeat the enemy who attacked us. Get your head outta your a$$.

Tony737 on October 30, 2007 at 7:03 PM

I just love this line from Stevens:

“There is a very different notion when you’re thinking about killing an individual, as opposed to killing a soldier in the line of fire.”

Ah so. Clear as mud. And this is why the Looney Left is like strychnine to society. Not only are they too weak-kneed to do what needs to be done to protect their society or themselves, they will actually prevent others from protecting themselves, all in the name of . . . humanity.

Splashman on October 30, 2007 at 7:05 PM

Consider this scenario. A US eavesdropping team overhears a conversation that Bin LAden is going to be at Tora Bora on November 4th.

THe US goes to the FISA court to get permission to take Bin LAden out.

The FISA court rules its OK to use this info.

The ACLU sues and takes this case to Supreme Court.

Then THIS Yutz will be in the position that the Military Commanders were in WWII. The US can kill Bin Laden.

WILL HE RULE THAT ITS ILLEGAL TO KILL BIN LADEN AND FORBID THE ATTACK !!!!????

William Amos on October 30, 2007 at 7:05 PM

So, would this moron have been offended if we targeted Rommel in a similar raid(had we had the opportunity)?

Bad Candy on October 30, 2007 at 7:11 PM

It was a WAR, dude! They attacked us, we faught back. If a mugger attacked you, would you just let him beat the crap outta you? What, because this guy was in a cargo plane instead of a fighter, he can’t be shot down? He shoulda had more escorts, his fault, not ours. Whattaya wanna do, pull alongside his plane and make him pull over? Ya gonna write him a farking ticket? Read him his rights?

Dammit man, I thought you had to be pretty smart to get on the SCotUS. Seems to me like any idiot can do it. “Supreme Court, so easy a caveman can do it.”

Tony737 on October 30, 2007 at 7:11 PM

Not only are they too weak-kneed to do what needs to be done to protect their society or themselves, they will actually prevent others from protecting themselves, all in the name of . . . humanity.

Splashman on October 30, 2007 at 7:05 PM

Gun control, I think its called.

Bad Candy on October 30, 2007 at 7:12 PM

WILL HE RULE THAT ITS ILLEGAL TO KILL BIN LADEN AND FORBID THE ATTACK !!!!????

William Amos on October 30, 2007 at 7:05 PM

What I want to know is by what mechanism the ACLU has access to the decisions of FISA prior to the attack which would allow the ACLU to sue and proceed to the Supreme Court for a decision.

News2Use on October 30, 2007 at 7:14 PM

What I want to know is by what mechanism the ACLU has access to the decisions of FISA prior to the attack which would allow the ACLU to sue and proceed to the Supreme Court for a decision.

News2Use on October 30, 2007 at 7:14 PM

With as many leaks in Government there are isnt hard to think this impossible. In fact FISA is bipartisan with republican and democratic judges on it

William Amos on October 30, 2007 at 7:17 PM

WHAT

CloneTrooper on October 30, 2007 at 7:21 PM

Crapweasel of the day

Wade on October 30, 2007 at 7:21 PM

Yamamoto was a brilliant admiral and a brilliant strategist. Funny thing is that with the attack on Pearl he was, indeed, just following orders. He had gotten very loud with the Imperial General Staff about how stupid it was to attack America, but then did what professional warriors do by carrying out the mission tasked to him. He was the only one who saw it. He was well respected by his enemies, and there’s something to be said for that.

HerrMorgenholz on October 30, 2007 at 7:21 PM

It just makes the case more and more for a Jacksonian reaction to the Supreme court: “Let them enforce it.”

scipioafricanus on October 30, 2007 at 7:22 PM

William Amos on October 30, 2007 at 7:17 PM

Throw the NYT into the mix and there’s your answer. By the time the scenario unfolded it would be 2010 and Bin Laden would have died of old age.

It is my understanding from a news report yesterday that in this country, death row inmates are dying of natural causes at a faster rate than they are being executed for their crimes. Chew on that for awhile.

infidel4life on October 30, 2007 at 7:24 PM

If there is one thing Yamamoto knew…one thing….it was the fact that he had a big bullseye on his forehead. He would expect nothing less.

Hearing Stevens Yamamoto would weep.

Limerick on October 30, 2007 at 7:34 PM

I met one of the pilots who was in the group who shot down Yamamoto. He was living in Boulder City NV in a home with a spectacular view of Lake Mead.

What was funny was that after all those years, the guys in his group say there is no way the guy who got credit for the kill was in position to make the shot. A fighter pilot to the last. I forget his name, but he was one interesting guy.

csdeven on October 30, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Yamamoto was an enemy combatant and his death was a serious blow to the Janpanese war effort. It’s time for Stevens to fade off into the sunset and avoid any further demonstrations of senility.

rplat on October 30, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Herr Morgan, you’re right about Yamamoto, he knew what he was talkin’ about. He predicted for Japan nothing but victory for six months, followed by nothing but defeat and he was quite accurate.

Tony737 on October 30, 2007 at 7:38 PM

I know it’s a life appointment but, are you allowed to stay on the court, even when you have that level of dementia?

srhoades on October 30, 2007 at 7:43 PM

So he got his perspective on the death penalty when the admiral did a swan dive into the jungle? So regardless of the Constitution, the laws, the will of the people, it is his personal opinion that matters. Who woulda thunk a judge could be like that?

Limerick on October 30, 2007 at 7:44 PM

I remember thinking: This is a particular individual they went out to intercept,” he said. “There is a very different notion when you’re thinking about killing an individual, as opposed to killing a soldier in the line of fire.”

There were over 2200 “individuals” killed at Pearl Harbor. And Yamamoto put them in the line of fire.

Stevens is an asshole.

My father was a WWII combat vet. This would have crushed him.

drjohn on October 30, 2007 at 7:48 PM

I am sorry for the language but this just infuriates me.

drjohn on October 30, 2007 at 7:49 PM

On second thought I am not sorry for the language. I am sorry if it offends anyone.

drjohn on October 30, 2007 at 7:50 PM

I know the liberals are really anti-war and have this supreme guilt about killing people who are from a different race even though they are trying to kill you, but COME ON! You don’t want to kill the enemy and their best commander? I don’t even want to know what these liberals would do in command of this country and the war.

Defector01 on October 30, 2007 at 7:50 PM

Yamamoto was a very honorable man, he was patriotic, and a genius. He understood carrier air superiority, which at the time was considered apostacy. He was as out spoken as a Japanese military commander could be against going to war with America. He was considered by American military leaders to be the greatest threat from Japan.

Killing him, while a sad event, was a great achievement towards winning the war against Japan, and a devastating blow against the Japanese Empire.

Yamamoto was a respected nemesis.

Osama Bin Laden is a rabid pile of refuse. Killing him would be more than merciful.

Rode Werk on October 30, 2007 at 7:59 PM

But but Yamy was such a cute little guy.

Esthetic’s, another liberal mantra, Stevens may not know the law but he knows what he likes.

Equating a foreign enemy with an American justice system finding follows right along with an emotional response versus a lawful result.

Speakup on October 30, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Rode Werk on October 30, 2007 at 7:59 PM

Cowardly refuse, the opposite of Yamamoto.

Come out, come out, where ever you are..Piyahh!

Speakup on October 30, 2007 at 8:06 PM

He is just an old pseudo-intellectual with a yearning for the adoration of other feckless sissy scum.

TheSitRep on October 30, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Gun control, I think its called.
Bad Candy on October 30, 2007 at 7:12 PM

That too. I was thinking more along the lines of banning “profiling” (i.e., turn your brains off), the intelligence “wall”, banning waterboarding, etc.

Splashman on October 30, 2007 at 8:26 PM

Yamamoto was a brilliant admiral and a brilliant strategist.
HerrMorgenholz on October 30, 2007 at 7:21 PM

That’s a bit much. In the decade prior to 12/7/41, he made a number of very good decisions. Once the war started, he made a number of poor decisions, and few good ones.

The most I think can be said for him is that he was the best strategist the Japanese had. But that’s not saying a whole lot.

Splashman on October 30, 2007 at 8:32 PM

Say What????

robo on October 30, 2007 at 8:44 PM

“He that makes himself a sheep shall be eaten by a wolf.” Italian proverb.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 30, 2007 at 8:54 PM

I blame the bowtie.

There’s something wrong with guys who wear bowties.

Only exception: Orvel Redenbacher

Weebork on October 30, 2007 at 8:55 PM

“He that makes himself a sheep shall be eaten by a wolf.” Italian proverb.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 30, 2007 at 8:54 PM

So…where’s the wolf? This idiot sheep has been effing up SCOTUS for decades. Retire and spend your senility with people who love you, knucklehead.

Jaibones on October 30, 2007 at 9:14 PM

If Justice Stevens would have said that in October of 1944, he would have been committed to a nut house!

Apples and oranges, killing during acts of war cannot be equated to the execution of convicted criminals.

I, as a Maronite Catholic, am personally opposed to the death penalty. I am for dungeons and hard labor for murderers, rapist, etc. No cable TV, radio, library, weight room, nothing. Just prison. Preferably the prisons would be built on the Aleutian Islands. But, that being said, the law of the land allows our gov’t to put to death those convicted by a jury of their peers. So, that’s the way it is.

Zorro on October 30, 2007 at 9:19 PM

The Constitution is a suicide pact?

profitsbeard on October 30, 2007 at 9:39 PM

Whatever. Give a man a suit. A title and a lifetime appointment, but you can’t make him think.

JellyToast on October 30, 2007 at 9:41 PM

Justice Stevens is a moron.

There…someone had to say it.

I wonder if he would have similarly objected to a take-out of Herr Hitler sometime in 1942 or so.

Probably.

Always Right on October 30, 2007 at 9:43 PM

I am glad to see this kind of report. The libs on the U.S. Supreme Court are really nuts.

Phil Byler on October 30, 2007 at 9:47 PM

I’ll take a wild stab here,I bet Stevens was against
dropping the A-Bombs on Japan as well.

canopfor on October 30, 2007 at 9:50 PM

Geeze this guy is absolutely b@t$hit, Fruit Loops!

At least Buzzy sleeps during hearings, but what is this boners excuse?

Consider:

Stevens told me he was troubled by the fact that Yamamoto, a highly intelligent officer who had lived in the United States and become friends with American officers, was shot down with so little apparent deliberation or humanitarian consideration.

Perhaps Stevens, if he could be caught during one of his more lucid moments, could explain what was humanitarian about shooting at civilians or non-combatants at Pearl.

The experience, he said, raised questions in his mind about the fairness of the death penalty. “I was on the desk, on watch, when I got word that they had shot down Yamamoto in the Solomon Islands, and I remember thinking: This is a particular individual they went out to intercept,” he said.

So he’s been anti-death penalty ever since? What BS.

Stevens said that, partly as a result of his World War II experience, he has tried on the court to narrow the category of offenders who are eligible for the death penalty and to ensure that it is imposed fairly and accurately.

Doesn’t this suggest he has predetermined the outcome of cases that might come before him?

At what point will the other Justices realize how senile this old coot has gotten?

91Veteran on October 30, 2007 at 9:53 PM

Wounding the snakes body in pieces doesn’t reduce your risk of being struck by the head of the snake and being killed.

Kill the snakes head and remove all doubt.

No one has won wars by dying for his country, you win wars by making the other bastard die for his country. – Patton

Kini on October 30, 2007 at 10:12 PM

I’ll take a wild stab here,I bet Stevens was against
dropping the A-Bombs on Japan as well.

canopfor on October 30, 2007 at 9:50 PM

Heck, I almost half expect him to come out against fighting WWII at this point.

Yakko77 on October 30, 2007 at 10:15 PM

The liberals on the Supreme Court are really out of touch.

SoulGlo on October 30, 2007 at 10:19 PM

He’s an excellent argument for people only spending 20 years on the SC and then having to retire.

thuja on October 30, 2007 at 10:40 PM

Good Lord, the comments are almost as bad as what Justice Stevens said…

major john on October 31, 2007 at 1:30 AM

Uh, over at the Volokh Consipracy that is, not here…heh.

major john on October 31, 2007 at 1:31 AM

It’s not like Osama himself flew the planes into the Twin Towers. Of could he should get off scott free.

hadsil on October 31, 2007 at 3:07 AM

HAHAHAHAHAHA….*

What?

He’s serious?

wow.

MT

Mistahtibbs on October 31, 2007 at 7:03 AM

Heck, I almost half expect him to come out against fighting WWII at this point.

Yakko77 on October 30, 2007 at 10:15 PM

Give the ACLU a few minutes, and they will file a lawsuit to overturn the outcome of it. We’ll have to get very fluent in German and Japanese.

Texas Nick 77 on October 31, 2007 at 7:28 AM

Duhhhhh you stupid, ignorant moron…. Don’t you think that if the Japanese had a shot at MacArthur, Nimitz or Halsey they’d have taken it? Killing the commander of the Japanese Imperial Navy is akin to killing bin Laden. You cut the head off the beast (warfare 101). This most certainly saved lives in the long run, as did Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but no one wants to talk about that.

RMCS_USN on October 31, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Please retire Justice Stevens.

Maxx on October 31, 2007 at 12:30 PM

This deserves an appropriate quote:

NUTS! – General Anthony McAuliffe

Shy Guy on October 31, 2007 at 12:33 PM

The Yamamoto mission was a mistake, but only because of what it could have revealed about our ability to read the Jap crypto. If they’d been paying attention, that is.

mojo on October 31, 2007 at 2:57 PM

“He that makes himself a sheep shall be eaten by a wolf.” Italian proverb.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 30, 2007 at 8:54 PM

So…where’s the wolf? This idiot sheep has been effing up SCOTUS for decades. Retire and spend your senility with people who love you, knucklehead.

Jaibones on October 30, 2007 at 9:14 PM

Do we have a misunderstanding or a disagreement. I find your message to be a tad ambiguous. My post was meant to say that if you don’t defend your country, you will have no country. Our current wolf is Islamofascism. If we try facing it through the criminal justice system, we will, I’m afraid, go down in flames. I believe that’s what you seem to be are saying too. Is that correct?

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 31, 2007 at 11:07 PM