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Supremely bad news: Part the First

June 26, 2008

The United States Supreme Court has just effectively held in Kennedy v. Louisiana, that “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” (1) are implicitly to be national, not state standards; and (2) that the death penalty is too cruel and unusual to be applied in the case of mere child rape, and thus it violates the Eighth Amendment.

State legislatures are far too stupid or insensitive or out of touch with decency and maturity to make these sorts of decisions.  Community standards are obsolete.  The United States Supreme Court of today subscribes to a global postmodern ethos of decency and maturity.

Besides, kids can get over things like rape and maiming at the hands of a step-parent; dead people can’t. And of course, nothing can ever begin to get our nationally decent, mature society over the injustice of the racially disproportionate demographics of violent crime.  

Compare and contrast, for instance, the rape of a an eight-year-old child with a gangland slaying. A gangbanger killing another gangbanger could receive the death penalty; the child rapist now cannot. Sorry, but I have to declare the holding and the reasoning and input from the social injustice people, disgusting.

Ah, say the social injustice people, but children lie or are suggestible. False convictions could lead to wrongful executions, and nothing could ever be worth that. But social injustice arguments that children’s testimony is unreliable and that false convictions could lead to wrongful executions are spurious. DNA evidence has overturned several death sentences already, and it is unthinkable that the ultimate penalty could ever again be imposed without DNA evidence.

The state legislatures of Louisiana, Florida, Montana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas, charged with representing the sense of decency and the proportionality of the penal codes of their jurisdictions, had determined that the rape of a child could be punishable by death. Normally, this is the bailiwick of the States; however, the U. S. Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of the U. S. Constitution, and Mr. Kennedy’s social injustice lawyer appealed his case from the Eighth Amendment angle at a time when the High Court was starved for more States’ rights to nationalize.

This should clarify something about the ultra-slim difference between so-called liberals and so-called conservatives. There is no difference in the degree to which both desire centralized standards and centralized control.

 The Court presumes that States are too unevolved to establish their own penal codes with proportional punishments; so why give them the power to establish their own laws at all? Why not just have a national criminal code? A national traffic code would be convenient, too. Heck, why not just be one big happy nation with national police and courts, and recycle all the state flags?

Mr. Kennedy’s death sentence, along with those of his child-rapist roomies across the country, has been commuted to life without parole.

Sitting on a death penalty jury is one of the hardest things anyone can ever do. Jurors who consigned these individuals to death row in good faith that justice was served ought to feel pretty badly used. It’s a tough thing about which to feel decent and mature.

COMING UP: Supreme Court overturns Washington, DC gun ban.  Will this discourage Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels from his attempted gun restrictions on “city property”?

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