Supreme Court: No death penalty for child rape

posted at 3:26 pm on June 25, 2008 by Allahpundit

5-4, with Kennedy joining the liberals to make a majority and the conservatives in dissent, the same posture for most “values” cases these days and just the latest reminder that Americans are fully justified in their cynicism about how the Court goes about deciding these things. Here’s the opinion. Don’t be afraid to dive in, as Eighth Amendment cases are mercifully jargon-free and Alito’s dissent, which starts on page 42, is a sterling example of his clean, accessible prose style.

The interpretive dilemma for “cruel and unusual punishment” is the same as for all constitutional clauses, except more starkly so: If you follow the originalist model here and define the term by using the Founding Fathers’ standards, then conceivably it’s constitutional to let prisoners be drawn and quartered. Rather than let the amendment process of Article V deal with that, though, the Court long ago decided that “cruel and unusual” should be determined according to society’s “evolving standards of decency.” How do they determine what those standards are? Simple. They use their own standards of decency, then go look for whatever data they can scrounge about social attitudes to make it seem like they’re taking the culture’s pulse. One might suggest, as Alito does, that a better gauge of society’s standards in a democracy are the actual laws that it passes — like, say, laws punishing child rape with death — but in that case, every duly enacted punishment would be constitutional per the Court’s test. So we’re stuck with this charade where the majority pretends that it’s divined some sort of National Ethos against executing child rapists and that it’s merely applying that Ethos instead of imposing its own judgment of what’s right and what’s not and dressing it up as the people’s will.

The irony (just one of many, like why, if this National Ethos exists, the Court doesn’t leave it to the public to pass a constitutional amendment formally recognizing it, or why, per Alito, the Court won’t acknowledge that it’s own prior rulings on the death penalty have prevented a true National Ethos from freely forming) is that America’s standards have actually evolved to be more sensitive to crimes committed against kids. Never has public awareness been greater of how abuse affects children psychologically, and virtually no one disputes that rape, let alone rape of a child, can be life-ruining. Look at the FLDS case, where the possibility of underaged girls being preyed on by men caused a national uproar. No wonder, then, that some states want to raise the penalty on a particularly vicious strain of child abuse. If Kennedy and his pals in the majority were honest about divining the National Ethos, they’d acknowledge that. But as I say, the “evolving standards” line is a scam in the same way that it’s a scam in other cases when the Court tries to divine international standards of opinion by citing statutes from European countries — but never from, say, Saudi Arabia or Iran. (Point being, they shouldn’t be citing foreign law at all.)

Here’s the money passage from Alito responding to Kennedy’s baseline nonsense that only murder is depraved enough to warrant the ultimate punishment. Citations omitted:

With respect to the question of moral depravity, is it really true that every person who is convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death is more morally depraved than every child rapist? Consider the following two cases. In the first, a defendant robs a convenience store and watches as his accomplice shoots the store owner. The defendant acts recklessly, but was not the triggerman and did not intend the killing. In the second case, a previously convicted child rapist kidnaps, repeatedly rapes, and tortures multiple child victims. Is it clear that the first defendant is more morally depraved than the second?

The Court’s decision here stands in stark contrast to Atkins and Roper, in which the Court concluded that characteristics of the affected defendants—mental retardation in Atkins and youth in Roper—diminished their culpability. Nor is this case comparable to Enmund v. Florida, 458 U. S. 782 (1982), in which the Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the death penalty where the defendant participated in a robbery during which a murder was committed but did not personally intend for lethal force to be used. I have no doubt that, under the prevailing standards of our society, robbery, the crime that the petitioner in Enmund intended to commit, does not evidence the same degree of moral depravity as the brutal rape of a young child. Indeed, I have little doubt that, in the eyes of ordinary Americans, the very worst child rapists—predators who seek out and inflict serious physical and emotional injury on defenseless young children—are the epitome of moral depravity.

Quite so. And maybe in the eyes of less ordinary Americans too, as we’ve all heard stories about the sort of special “justice” reserved in prison for inmates convicted of abusing kids. Even ardent opponents of the death penalty, I suspect, wouldn’t shed any extra tears over the execution of a child molester who beats some kid’s head in “merely” to the point of leaving him in a coma versus one who succeeds in finishing the job.

The ultimate irony here is that they’re using an ad hoc metric — the “evolving standards” test that theoretically changes day by day (but only ever towards greater “progressivism”) — to institute what’s actually a fixed, bright-line rule. No death except as repayment for death, because if they allow capital punishment for child rape, what’s next? Capital punishment for violent assault? For larceny, a la 17th century England? Either is unlikely in the extreme, but partly because they don’t trust the public and partly because they know their own test is crap and don’t trust it to produce persuasive distinctions between child rape and some lesser crime in a future case, they’ve decided to simply take the issue off the table. That is to say, after paying lip service to letting the will of the people guide them and trusting the “evolution” of American culture to go the right way, the Court ends up with a diktat set in stone that’s aimed squarely at preventing the sheeple from executing people for petty crimes at some dark distant point down the road. Perfect.

Exit question: Death penalty opponents like to argue that life in prison is actually worse. If you want a murderer to suffer, the theory goes, why give him an easy way out with a hot dose? Stick him in a dingy cell for 50 years and let him waste away. If that’s so, how does it square with Kennedy’s claim that murder is uniquely terrible? If some forms of existence are so physically or psychologically painful that death is actually more humane, then why is the guy who murders a child unthinkingly presumed to have done more harm than one who beats, rapes, or otherwise abuses him until he’s a basket case condemned to a life of misery? And, follow-up question: If we’re taking Kennedy and those death penalty opponents seriously (which we’re not), does their assertion that child rapists haven’t done as much harm as murderers mean that rapists should be executed because, after all, execution’s supposedly a lesser punishment?


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Comment pages: 1 2

5-4, with Kennedy joining the liberals to make a majority…

I’m going to have to do a ReWrite™ of the lede…

5-4, with Kennedy joining the sticking with his fellow liberals to make a majority…

steveegg on June 25, 2008 at 4:51 PM

Considering the fact that the only way to force a justice off of the supreme court is for him/her to die, I think that it more than a bit selfish of the justices to reserve the “death sentence” for themselves. What do you think collie?

My collie says:

The death penalty should not only be legal for child rapists, it should be mandatory.

CyberCipher on June 25, 2008 at 4:52 PM

The people – meaning their elected officials – set a penalty

“The people” is the entire society, not just elected officials. When “the people” get a conviction, it’s not the elected officials that convict. You might want to argue that courts are overreaching, but to dismiss the say of the courts entirely — in defendent sentencing, no less! — is a mistake.

calbear on June 25, 2008 at 4:53 PM

CyberCipher on June 25, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Smart collie.

steveegg on June 25, 2008 at 4:54 PM

You really couldn’t google it yourself?

I guess I must be busy doing something.

It took me five seconds to find this site which links half a dozen studies saying that execution is more expensive, in ten different states.

You’ll need to take more than five seconds to think seriously about this issue. Pointing at a site that clearly is promoting ‘studies’ that affirm their conclusions isn’t really convincing.

Dusty on June 25, 2008 at 4:45 PM

Indeed. Hence why I find this whole “execution more expensive than life” argument rather smelly.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 4:54 PM

I guess I must be busy doing something.

I can tell.

I’ve seen this covered in depth on CourtTV (or whatever it’s called now), all I did was find a website that gave the same information.

You’ll need to take more than five seconds to read it, before you reject it just because it doesn’t match your knee-jerk assumptions.

Tanya on June 25, 2008 at 4:59 PM

I’m against the death penalty so I am pleased that the death penalty is receiving yet another restriction.

While as disgusted as anyone would be that such crimes take place at all (and the circumstances of this case certainly warrant throwing away the key)… I find it interesting that the same people who are generally against hate crime legislation, which elevates the severity of the crime and corresponding punishment depending on exactly who gets attacked, are so supportive of making the age of the rape victim a special circumstance which demands the death of the perpetrator. I am curious as to how many here think that anyone convicted of rape should be put to death. If someone murders a child, should the punishment be more severe than if they murdered an adult? I don’t think so… I think rape is a very serious crime and demands a serious punishment.

lexhamfox on June 25, 2008 at 5:00 PM

You’ll need to take more than five seconds to think seriously about this issue.

But not you, because you don’t have the time. Now that we’re clear on that.

Indeed. Hence why I find this whole “execution more expensive than life” argument rather smelly.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 4:54 PM

His comment doesn’t say that it isn’t true. In fact, it seems to imply that it is true, only that it isn’t necessarily a decent argument against the death penalty.

Well, I agree, so does Tanya. But we also know it’s true.

Esthier on June 25, 2008 at 5:00 PM

It should be left up to each state, no matter what the other states think.

B26354 on June 25, 2008 at 4:10 PM

There’s the crux of the matter, right there. The Supremes continue to rule the Republic from their lofty perch, allowing no dissent from the federal will.

joewm315 on June 25, 2008 at 5:01 PM

CourtTV (or whatever it’s called now)

Tanya on June 25, 2008 at 4:59 PM

TruTV. Reality programming at it’s finest. /sarc

lexhamfox on June 25, 2008 at 5:00 PM

This isn’t just about child rape, but even if it was, surely you’re not trying to compare hate crimes to child rape.

One punishes thought.

The other punishes actions.

That’s the difference. I can’t spell it out more clearly than that.

Esthier on June 25, 2008 at 5:03 PM

You’ll need to take more than five seconds to read it, before you reject it just because it doesn’t match your knee-jerk assumptions.

Tanya on June 25, 2008 at 4:59 PM

Part of the art of evaluating resources is to be able to stand back and ‘consider the source’. It is readily apparent that the site you linked represents an organization opposed to the death penalty….it is unsurprising that the articles within claim to support their position.

I make no assumptions – in fact, I’m thinking about this from first principles. The economics just don’t add up in support of your position. If I find conclusive evidence and reasoning to the contrary, I’ll happily concede and stand corrected.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:05 PM

If they ‘behave’ themselves in prison – where they can’t prey on little girls anyway – they can be adjudged to no longer be a threat to society, and some lenient judge can and often will release them.

psrch on June 25, 2008 at 4:36 PM

Unless Mike F*ckabee beats the judge to it and issues a gubernatorial pardon, of course.

Misha I on June 25, 2008 at 5:11 PM

If I find conclusive evidence and reasoning to the contrary, I’ll happily concede and stand corrected.

Hahaha. Right.

And the fact that the linked studies were done by the unbiased states themselves — the State of Kansas, the Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, the National Bureau of Economic Research — means nothing.

You should really have that knee checked out.

Tanya on June 25, 2008 at 5:15 PM

LimeyGeek… I worked on a number of death penalty cases as a student in the 80′s. I was quite surprised myself that it costs more to put a convict to death than to consign them to a life in prison but back then it was true. I can’t say now if that is the case as there are many more licensed lawyers and the corresponding fees resulting from mandatory reviews and appeals might be cheaper today.

lexhamfox on June 25, 2008 at 5:17 PM

This “Justice” Kennedy knows jacks*** about “national consensus.”

He probably needs to meet with groups of parents – especially fathers of little girls.

newton on June 25, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Tanya on June 25, 2008 at 5:15 PM

You think that there is no chance of bias or sloppy data compilation and analysis in state agencies?

Hahaha. Right.

Tell me, did you do your due diligence? Or do you have a bias, found a site that supports your bias, then swallowed everything like an unthinking fish?

I am not prepared to swallow such arguments without careful thought….something you have clearly avoided doing.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:20 PM

Or do you have a bias, found a site that supports your bias, then swallowed everything like an unthinking fish?

Wow, you really haven’t read a single one of my comments, and yet you responded to them. How incredibly rude and ignorant.

Tanya on June 25, 2008 at 5:23 PM

After a review of the “history of the death penalty for this and other nonhomicide crimes, current state statutes and new enactments, and the number of executions since 1964, we conclude there is a national consensus against capital punishment for the crime of child rape,” Anthony Kennedy wrote.

You know, maybe the history of the death penalty would be different if it weren’t for continued vigorous opposition by judges like Kennedy?

cthulhu on June 25, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Excellent post Allah. Great writing like this is why I “tune in” to Hot Air (that, and the humping robot). I had, and I assume others had as well, thought that when Roberts and Alito joined the court; we wouldn’t see crap decisions like this. Sadly, I was horribly wrong. Wow, between this and Boumediene, Kennedy is on fire. Thank god he’s not writing the majority in Parker (one hopes).

melchitt on June 25, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Tell me, did you do your due diligence? Or do you have a bias, found a site that supports your bias, then swallowed everything like an unthinking fish?

I am not prepared to swallow such arguments without careful thought….something you have clearly avoided doing.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:20 PM

You are really beating this.

1. She said she wasn’t against the death penalty, so that obviously isn’t a site that supports her “bias”.

2. She said she found that information through a 5 second Google search today, not that she found that information in that past that way.

It’s the truth, Limey. Your attempt to fight that and not even give one inch here makes you look like a Truther.

And you’re wasting your time. Neither Tanya nor myself oppose the death penalty. We’re just admitting that it is more expensive, because it is.

Esthier on June 25, 2008 at 5:26 PM

lexhamfox on June 25, 2008 at 5:17 PM

My suspicion of this was prompted by the lack of consideration of total economic costs by its proponents. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t true, just that I do not yet see convincing evidence to accept it. There are far more costs involved in analyzing this issue than court costs. Simplistic analysis of this issue doesn’t do it justice.

And even if we could conclusively demonstrate that the death penalty is always more expensive than life imprisonment, are we really going to argue that justice should be shackled by dollar limitations? “I’m sorry, it’s not economically viable to execute the rapist murderer of your daughter”.

If people wish to see the end to the death penalty, they should be arguing in terms of justice, not dollars – a rather repugnant and callous attitude.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:29 PM

If child rape doesn’t earn one the death penalty, then why have a death penalty at all? I can think of no worse crime!

sabbott on June 25, 2008 at 5:30 PM

It’s the truth, Limey.

So you keep asserting. I guess that makes it true.

Your attempt to fight that and not even give one inch here makes you look like a Truther.

Ad hominem aside, I am not interested in ‘fighting’ anything, but I certainly don’t intend on just blindly accepting what is shoved under my nose.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:34 PM

My issues with the death penalty are that (a) it is undoable. No takebacks. And in an imperfect system of judgement, you’re going to end up killing innocent people. (b) It is racist in practice because the death penalty is dealt out unequally according to race. (c) It is cheaper to keep someone in prison for the rest of their life than to execute them.

So I don’t have a problem with it in theory — just in practice.

Mark Jaquith on June 25, 2008 at 5:39 PM

My issues with the death penalty are that (a) it is undoable. No takebacks.

How do you ‘undo’ the time someone innocent spent in prison?

psrch on June 25, 2008 at 5:49 PM

Mark Jaquith on June 25, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Innocent deaths, racism and expense….quite the trifecta.

There are no guilty people on death row, so I hear ;)

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Trying to understand the thought processes of liberals always gives me a headache. As best I can tell, it all boils down to “There’s no point in having power unless you use it to spit in the eye of normal people”.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 5:55 PM

It is racist in practice because the death penalty is dealt out unequally according to race.

Actually, it is not. But don’t let pesky reality intrude on your fantasy world.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 5:56 PM

Ad hominem aside, I am not interested in ‘fighting’ anything, but I certainly don’t intend on just blindly accepting what is shoved under my nose.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2008 at 5:34 PM

I’m not calling you one. I’m only saying it makes you look like one, which is true.

And you’re obviously trying to fight Tanya.

Last, don’t accept it just because I have said it (and so many others by the way). Obviously you’re better off doing your own homework, but for some reason you’d rather attack people here and claim you haven’t the time to research the subject.

Maybe you should take your own advice and “do your due diligence.”

Just a suggestion.

Esthier on June 25, 2008 at 5:56 PM

Brilliantly written post by AP.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 5:57 PM

I am generally against the death penalty, but this is a pretty crappy opinion.

Squid Shark

Squidly, if we ever find a position on which you take the conservative side I’m buying beers all round.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Excellent analysis, AP.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the liberal majority would write one honest opinion in a death penalty case? It might go something like this: We liberal justices don’t approve of the death penalty, for a variety of reasons (one of which being that nations we consider to be more “civilized” than the U.S., namely the western European nations, have outlawed the death penalty). We liberal justices acknowledge that a majority of Americans still support the death penalty, but frankly, we don’t care. We liberal justices have decided to overrule the will of the people of this nation, because we fervently believe that we are simply smarter and better people than the rest of you.

It might not be a popular opinion, but at least it would be the truth.

AZCoyote on June 25, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Squidly, if we ever find a position on which you take the conservative side I’m buying beers all round.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Ahh the mighty arbiter of conservative opinion strikes again.

I am against the death penalty on the principle that the government can not be trusted with the simplest of tasks, but we expect them to be able to determine whether someone warrants death?

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:05 PM

A better argument against the death penalty is the conservative argument …. it’s a matter of limiting government power – a government should never legally be able to take the life of one of its own citizens

That’s not a conservative argument. It’s not even an intelligent libertarian argument.

And we are not the governments citizens. You got that ownership realtionship exactly backwards.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:06 PM

AZCoyote on June 25, 2008 at 6:01 PM

I wish they would just shut up and let the states decide.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:07 PM

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:06 PM

Well I am glad that you feel that juries are intelligent enough to make an irrevocable decision such as execution.

Me, I’ve known to many juries.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:09 PM

I am against the death penalty on the principle that the government can not be trusted with the simplest of tasks, but we expect them to be able to determine whether someone warrants death?

One, that is a stupid argument. If you really think that we cannot trust government with “the simplest of tasks” then you are should be a Ron Paul supporter. I notice that you are not, and that you do think that the government should be involved in some very complex tasks. Fighting wars, for instance.

Two, that is not a conservative argument. Of course, since you started voting Republican in 2004 I guess we cannot expect you to be up to speed on conservatism. But it would be nice if you showed even a token interest in learning.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:11 PM

I am glad that you feel that juries are intelligent enough to make an irrevocable decision such as execution.

Spoken like a true liberal. We cannot trust our fellow citizens, but we can repose complete confidence in the government “experts”.

Why do liberals hate people so much?

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Protect and defend the rapist and those who commits murder, but make sure that you don’t protect the life of the innocent unborn. Can’t seem to understand the logic.

mariloubaker on June 25, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:09 PM

If you don’t trust them for that, then why trust them with anything? Even taking a person’s freedom away is serious.

Besides, if you don’t trust the government to do even simple things, how can you trust it to conduct a war or protect its people?

Esthier on June 25, 2008 at 6:14 PM

The death penalty, which is rarely used even for first degree murder, would give a perversive incentive for the rapist to kill his victim. Pretty obvious.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:19 PM

Squidly is a liberal who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of supporting the Republican party. He’s trying to hang on to his old beliefs. In this case, that means trotting out libertarian arguments which he does not really believe.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:20 PM

With a murder, the victim’s suffering ends. With the rape of a child, the victim’s suffering lasts a lifetime. Which crime is truly the more depraved?

“Why do liberals hate people childrenso much?”

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:21 PM

The death penalty, which is rarely used even for first degree murder, would give a perversive incentive for the rapist to kill his victim. Pretty obvious.

Pretty stupid. How does it give them a “peverse incentive”? Seems like it would give them an incentive not to rape eight year olds in the first place.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:21 PM

“Why do liberals hate people children so much?”

In fairness to liberals, I don’t think that they single children out for their hate. They have plenty of loathing for people to spread around.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:23 PM

The death penalty, which is rarely used even for first degree murder, would give a perversive incentive for the rapist to kill his victim. Pretty obvious.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:19 PM

Rapist: “Take the death penalty off the table or the kid gets it!”

Society: “Alright then. Anything else you’d like while we’re at it?”

Actually, why don’t we do away with punishment for child rape altogether? I mean, it’s pretty obvious to me that the prospect of being punished at all is pervasive incentive for the rapist to get rid of the only witness to the crime.

Or any crime, for that matter.

/sarc

Thanks for the laughs, though.

Misha I on June 25, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Of course, since you started voting Republican in 2004 I guess we cannot expect you to be up to speed on conservatism. But it would be nice if you showed even a token interest in learning.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:11 PM

I started voting Republican in 1998, you idiot. I have great interest in learning, but talking to you will not teach me anything.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:26 PM

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Nothing so complicated for you, your just a pig. A loud disgusting pig.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:27 PM

With a murder, the victim’s suffering ends. With the rape of a child, the victim’s suffering lasts a lifetime. Which crime is truly the more depraved?

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Two couples have their young daughters kidnapped. The police find one of the girls alive but they are virtually certain that she has been raped. The other girl was apparently killed soon after the kidnapping but was not raped.

The word of this gets to the parents but they do not yet know which is which.

Which way do you think that the two sets of parents, assuming they are not muslim anyway, are hoping?

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Misha I on June 25, 2008 at 6:25 PM

The simple problem here is that this decision should be left to the states. This is clearly something that is left to their purview and since it is so controversial, few states actually hold this penalty.

I wonder if the UCMJ will come under attack now. It still holds execution as an option for rape.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Actually, why don’t we do away with punishment for child rape altogether?

Thanks for the laughs, though.

Misha I on June 25, 2008 at 6:25 PM

I think that you missed the whole point and you sure have a strange sense of humor.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:32 PM

MB4,

I’m not talking about the parents; I’m talking about the children. Apples and oranges.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:33 PM

Kennedy and his band of child rapist lovers!!!

thmcbb on June 25, 2008 at 6:35 PM

Pretty stupid. How does it give them a “peverse incentive”? Seems like it would give them an incentive not to rape eight year olds in the first place.

flenser on June 25, 2008 at 6:21 PM

You seem like a pretty smart guy, tactless much of the time (not that that’s all bad), but pretty smart, so I am amazed that there is any need for me to have to explain the obvious to you.

Hint: perverse from societies viewpoint. Think about it.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:36 PM

I think that you missed the whole point and you sure have a strange sense of humor.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:32 PM

Oops. I thought you were serious. My bad. Oh, and definitely guilty on the second count.

The simple problem here is that this decision should be left to the states.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Couldn’t agree more.

Misha I on June 25, 2008 at 6:41 PM

MB4,

I’m not talking about the parents; I’m talking about the children.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:33 PM

So you are implying that the parents, again assuming that they are not muslim, for wanting their daughter to be the one who is alive are being selfish and not considering the best interests of their own daughter but only their own selfish interests?

Unbelievable.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Oops. I thought you were serious. My bad. Oh, and definitely guilty on the second count.

Misha I on June 25, 2008 at 6:41 PM

You seem to be getting even more confused.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:45 PM

I’m not talking about the parents; I’m talking about the damage children have to live with forever. Get a grip and stop with the whole Muslim thing.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:45 PM

MB,
All of you analogies are confusing and out of the realm of sane reality. That is why people get frustrated.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:48 PM

I’m not talking about the parents; I’m talking about the damage children have to live with forever. Get a grip and stop with the whole Muslim thing.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:45 PM

I’ve got a grip. Now you need to get a clue.

We are not talking about if rape is good or bad, but rather if being raped is worse than being murdered.

I am exceedingly confident that most parents, if they are not muslim anyway would agree with me and not you.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:51 PM

so the supreme court says it is ok to rape children
anyone touches one of my relatives will not have to rejoice with the supreme court

supreme my a**

lexa on June 25, 2008 at 7:02 PM

MB,
All of you analogies are confusing and out of the realm of sane reality. That is why people get frustrated.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 6:48 PM

I have not even used any analogies on this thread.

I think that the problem some may be having is that they seem to have a prediliction to read things, things that are not there, into what others say.

Sane reality? You mean there is an insane reality? lol.

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
- Charles Mackay

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 7:02 PM

When this country was being settled, often there was no law enforcement officials (police, sheriff, etc.), no courts; people took the law in their own hands.

Sometimes that wasn’t good, but in most cases those who were good men apprehended the bad and dealt with them–justice was swift and hard.

We are returning to lawlessness because people in positions of power are allowing crime to flourish.

How long before good men rise up and deal appropriately with such henious crimes?

I have grandchildren. If someone rapes one of them, he will die. I’m not afraid of prison.

davidk on June 25, 2008 at 7:04 PM

bravo david

lexa on June 25, 2008 at 7:08 PM

davidk on June 25, 2008 at 7:04 PM

We are a nation of laws, the founding fathers understood this and that is why we took that lesson from the English Civil war. No man is above the law, but no man may take it into his own hands either.

You take it into your own hands, you must deal with the consequences.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 7:16 PM

You take it into your own hands, you must deal with the consequences.

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 7:16 PM

He said he would. So did others. When you have kids, you will consider the consequences of not doing it.

JiangxiDad on June 25, 2008 at 7:20 PM

The parent of a raped child may see to it differantly.

johnnyU on June 25, 2008 at 7:25 PM

Squid,

I am willing.

We are supposed to be a nations of laws. But if a child rapist can rape with a relative slap on the wrist, then we have ceased to become a nation of laws.We are, should be, lex rex not rex lex.

When the west was being settled the just and true laws our founding fathers wrote did not reach far.

Horse thiefs were summarily hung. That certainly seems harsh today, but a man’s horse was his life.

What price a child’s innocence?

I have no compassion for someone who will brutally take that away.

davidk on June 25, 2008 at 7:25 PM

I’m with you, davidk. However it will not be a quick one. If that takes me to his/her level, then so be it. However, I do not see a jury in my area convicting anyone in a situation like this. Temporary insanity anyone?

Claimsratt on June 25, 2008 at 8:43 PM

To whomever thinks that the death penalty is more expensive than prison, shut the F&^% up and use your brain for a minute. The ONLY reason certain death penalty cases have become so expensive is the ritual lengthy appeal process and cost of keeping these animals in prison while slimy lawyers do what they can to win their game (a game that has nothing to do with justice). If the death penalty system was modified to allow for one appeal, one appeal only, death row would be nearly empty and perhaps the punishment would serve as an actual deterrent.

But, like with everything else the government touches, they have managed to screw up something as simple as killing a sub-human.

When will these Supreme Court justices be tried for crimes against humanity? I tell you… if decisions like these keep getting handed down I can easily see a conservative going off of the deep end and taking out a few of these robed S.O.B’s.

cannonball on June 25, 2008 at 8:45 PM

I’ve started reading the opinion and find myself full of rage. Perhaps my judgment is a little cloudy because I have an 8yr-old daughter, but I think this paragraph from the opinion sums up my disagreement with the ‘majority’ decision. If you are easily offended, please do not read the following description of the victims injuries.

An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that L. H.’s injuries were the most severe he had seen from a sexual assault in his four years of practice. A laceration to the left wall of the vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus. The injuries required emergency surgery.

Dear god…

I guess the court has sent its message. The long term suffering of the criminal is more important to them than the life of the victim. Death for these animals is the only chance for closure that for these that has suffered so.

How can these judges sleep at night?

cannonball on June 25, 2008 at 8:57 PM

Supreme Court: No death penalty for child rape

WHY, OH WHY, isn’t there a massive outcry from congress and the white house, for SCOTUS judge Anthony Kennedy’s impeached head? WHY, OH WHY, are they allowing this scumbag to ruin this country. I hope when he goes to hell, he’s raped 7/24, for eternity! The soul-less bastard.

byteshredder on June 25, 2008 at 9:30 PM

Ted Kennedy has a lot of time on his hands these days to reflect on what he and his colleagues did to Robert Bork. This no doubt has a bearing on this latest case. Ted is getting close to when he will face his Maker, who when He walked on this earth said, it would be better for a millstone to be hung around a person’s neck and him cast into the sea rather than offend/harm a little child. How will Ted, Justice Kennedy, Leahy and many many others answer?

wepeople on June 25, 2008 at 9:35 PM

How will Ted, Justice Kennedy, Leahy and many many others answer?

I imagine him saying “Mary Jo Kopechne? Yes, I remember you. I am so sorry about that bridge crash thing. Really, I am really really sorry. What is that button you have your finger on? A trap door? To where? Oh crap…Did I mention how really, really sorry I am for leaving you to die?”

click.

cannonball on June 25, 2008 at 10:23 PM

And maybe in the eyes of less ordinary Americans too, as we’ve all heard stories about the sort of special “justice” reserved in prison for inmates convicted of abusing kids.

Because of the heinous nature of the crime, when they get through with him in prison he’s going to curse the court and wish he had opted for the more humane lethal injection – assuming, of course, they don’t kill him.

In a story I just heard on radio, the citizens of Italy have their own form of justice when dealing with rapists.

The story goes that two rapists managed to beat Italy’s system of justice and were let go.
Within a short period of time, each rapist was killed on the street in broad daylight, and for some reason the police couldn’t find any eye witnesses.

Most telling of all about the court’s decision was not that Kennedy was the swing vote, but that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a woman, a Jew, a grandmother, and a card-carrying member of the ACLU that proclaims it protects ‘the children’, went along with the decision.

It’s yet another instance where liberalism supersedes logic and reality.

pocomoco on June 25, 2008 at 10:59 PM

The ONLY reason certain death penalty cases have become so expensive is the ritual lengthy appeal process and cost of keeping these animals in prison while slimy lawyers do what they can to win their game (a game that has nothing to do with justice).

Did you ever think that there is a lengthy appeal process because execution is irrevocable? How many people on Death Row have been vindicated? Are their lives forfeit?

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 11:24 PM

This is the problem with appointing nine people dictators for life. There should be term limits for all branches of government, not just the executive.

WildBillK on June 25, 2008 at 11:49 PM

Not impressed here. With a ruling like that, I feel our gun rights are also at risk. If a child cant have justice, then why would they let the folks in D.C. and, then the rest of us.

tx2654 on June 25, 2008 at 11:50 PM

My tidings towards these five justices is ill-suited for a civilized tone, so I shall keep them to myself.

Yet another sad, sad day for this country…Something that is becoming all too common when the Supreme Court is involved.

Hawkins1701 on June 25, 2008 at 11:57 PM

Thanks for an excellent analysis, AP.
.
If our nation’s politics were rational, we would be discussing impeachment for every justice in the majority on this decision. It would be nationalized as an issue in each house ans senate election.

Right_of_Attila on June 26, 2008 at 12:28 AM

Did you ever think that there is a lengthy appeal process because execution is irrevocable? How many people on Death Row have been vindicated? Are their lives forfeit?

Squid Shark on June 25, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Probably not as many as you think. Most people hear those stories of people being released from Death Row after years, and assume they were all exonerated. Many times, though, the release is on a technicality. Probably 90% of these highly publicized cases did NOT actually exonerate the accused.

Of course, to death penalty opponents — and activists — that knee-jerk reaction is exactly what they hope for.

theregoestheneighborhood on June 26, 2008 at 1:12 AM

No death except as repayment for death, because if they allow capital punishment for child rape, what’s next? Capital punishment for violent assault? For larceny, a la 17th century England? Either is unlikely in the extreme, but partly because they don’t trust the public and partly because they know their own test is crap and don’t trust it to produce persuasive distinctions between child rape and some lesser crime in a future case, they’ve decided to simply take the issue off the table.

That’s it right there. SCOTUS has trust issues.

An easy read and insightful. Thanks, Allah.

silverfox on June 26, 2008 at 3:14 AM

A murdered person no longer suffers while the sexually abused child suffers and is scarred for the rest of its life. Both actions are depraved enough to warrant the death penalty.

While a person who kills could conceivably reform and never kill again, it is virtually 100% certain that a pedophile or rapist is unable to reform and if released from prison will rape again and again.
If the death penalty is out then it is time to remodel Alcatraz.

kaye on June 26, 2008 at 3:34 AM

The awful physical injuries suffered by these raped kids are beyond description, yet even deeper healing is needed for their other wounds. Even a doofus like Michelle O’s husband – father of their two young girls – expressed a revulsion for this SCOTUS decision.

The majority decision, credited to Justice Kennedy, was a total free-lance operation that mocks sound jurisprudence. A lousy precedent was established when Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804 but not convicted by the Senate in March 1805, resulting in the spurious notion that no SC Justice would be impeached due to their performance on the bench. (Impeachment, supposedly, reserved for criminality only). This suggestion that the Justices can “make up any decision imaginable based on the latest pipe dream of choice” with impunity needs to be abolished NOW.

Kennedy should be impeached to establish a permanent example that the law and Constitution should rule, not the guesstimated societal preferences and other BS as divined by closeted Justices.

T J Green on June 26, 2008 at 3:54 AM

theregoestheneighborhood on June 26, 2008 at 1:12 AM

Very few, percentage wise, are released on a technicality. Many are exonerated by DNA evidence or other new methods.

You still havent answered my question though, are the lives of those who are exonerated forfeit?

Squid Shark on June 26, 2008 at 6:33 AM

We are not talking about if rape is good or bad, but rather if being raped is worse than being murdered.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:51 PM

No, you’re talking about whether a parent would rather have a child returned raped or returned dead.

The answer is obvious.

She’s talking about whether or not a victim would rather be raped or murdered. The answer, unless you’ve been raped yourself, is not so obvious.

For some people, the pain of being raped is something impossible to get over; it can be the thing that defines and haunts that person. For some, it’s a tragic chapter in an otherwise decent life.

Obviously parents can’t know how their child will react and obviously hope it’ll be the latter. So their desire to see their child return is a desire for the best interest for their child, and good parents will do whatever they can to ensure the latter outcome is the one their child has; however, they can only do so much.

The death penalty, which is rarely used even for first degree murder, would give a perversive incentive for the rapist to kill his victim. Pretty obvious.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:19 PM

And seriously, this is not your best argument. When you rape and murder someone the death penalty is definitely on the table. If you just rape someone, you very well might get life.

If you’ll notice, this was in Louisiana’s law, but that doesn’t mean it was used in many cases if any before this one. It was just an option, one they reserved for especially gruesome rape cases, like this one, where the young girl required surgery, not because she was beaten but just because she was raped.

Esthier on June 26, 2008 at 9:56 AM

To whomever thinks that the death penalty is more expensive than prison, shut the F&^% up and use your brain for a minute. The ONLY reason certain death penalty cases have become so expensive is the ritual lengthy appeal process and cost of keeping these animals in prison while slimy lawyers do what they can to win their game (a game that has nothing to do with justice).

cannonball on June 25, 2008 at 8:45 PM

So you want us to shut the F&^% up and use our brains even though you admit that we’re right.

Maybe you’re the one who needs to find some use for your f-ing brain.

It’s a fact that it’s more expensive. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Don’t get all pissy because some of us know how to state a fact. Just use your arguments for why that fact doesn’t matter.

That’s what many of us already did.

Esthier on June 26, 2008 at 11:57 AM

We are not talking about if rape is good or bad, but rather if being raped is worse than being murdered.

MB4 on June 25, 2008 at 6:51 PM

No, you’re talking about whether a parent would rather have a child returned raped or returned dead.

The answer is obvious.

She’s talking about whether or not a victim would rather be raped or murdered. The answer, unless you’ve been raped yourself, is not so obvious.

Thank you, Esthier, for saying what I meant. And what I actually did say earlier:

With a murder, the victim’s suffering ends. With the rape of a child, the victim’s suffering lasts a lifetime. Which crime is truly the more depraved?

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 25, 2008 at 6:21 PM

We have a local girl who was raped outside the library. She’s suffered a fracture to the forehead, several strokes, and is blind now. Doctors are keeping her in a medically induced coma. Her rapist is sixteen. Last year, at the ripe old age of fifteen, he raped a 62-year-old day care worker.

Murder ends the suffering for the victim; rape is the “gift” that keeps on giving.

I dare anyone to read the actual case in the Supreme Court decision and declare that that little eight-year-old girl will not be scarred, emotionally and physically, the rest of her life.

Of course, MB4, any parent would rather, if forced to choose, have a raped daughter than a murdered daughter. That, however, was not what I was talking about and your analogy was incongruent with my previous statement.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 26, 2008 at 12:10 PM

Allah — Some of the best writing I’ve ever seen from you. I enjoyed the clarity.

Some posters seem to feel that the antipathy to child rape is a sentimental fad on the part of redneck conservatives. I worked for many years as a psychiatric nurse and saw often and up close the devastation created by childhood rape. Many of the victims are left without the ability to trust anyone and without any ability to develop any control over their emotions or their lives. They are doomed to lives of frequent hospitalizations usually brought on by suicide attempts because they are unable to trust anyone else enough to ask for help. Someone doing life will have it easy by comparison. Since the perpetrators so often reoffend (and so often are released in spite express sentencing) the death penalty would also serve to decrease the number of child rapes over all.

snaggletoothie on June 26, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Of course, MB4, any parent would rather, if forced to choose, have a raped daughter than a murdered daughter.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 26, 2008 at 12:10 PM

Though that does remind me of a show I’d rather not name (it’ll out me as a Sci-Fi fan).

In it a badly wounder soldier is being hauled away by the enemy, and in slow-motion style, another soldier, who had been shooting at the enemy, sees what’s going on and turns her gun on her fellow soldiers and shoots him in the forehead.

Rather than let a fellow soldier be tortured, she ended his misery.

She believed she was being humane. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, but I understand the sentiment.

Esthier on June 26, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Now I’m racking my brain to remember which sci-fi show that was.

I, also, don’t believe death to be preferred to rape, but there is a reason rape has long been euphemistically known as “a fate worse than death”.

Mrs. Happy Housewife on June 26, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Thereeeeeee back. What did they consider the physical abuse that the child undergoes – fun?

No! It was cruel and unusually inhumane punishment without the benefit of a trial by the child’s peers.

Liberals are unable to put themselves into the shoes of those they claim they are protecting because their minds are shut to reality.

What would those that ruled that the death penalty was not appropriate for those that rape children if it was their child? Oh, I forgot they support abortion so they can kill their children before they are born.

Rulings such as this are proof that a select few of inbreed liberals have been able to B.S. many that they know what’s good for everyone.

The only way liberals are able to proliferate is by never killing their own kind no matter how hideous the crime – because they can make them all bitter – oops better.

MSGTAS on June 27, 2008 at 10:07 AM

I wonder if judge Anthony Kennedy has ever been repeatably, and forcibly against his will, buggered??? Maybe he’ll find out, when he ends up in hell.

byteshredder on June 27, 2008 at 5:51 PM

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