Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Supreme Court blows another case

In a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana is wrong in having the death penalty as a potential punishment for raping a child on the basis of it being cruel and unusual. One can reasonably argue that the death penalty itself is wrong and I can respect that point of view. However, if we allow that the death penalty is constitutional then it is a matter of deciding which offenses against societal norms of behavior warrant that punishment. In my view the death penalty should be reserved for the most heinous of crimes that we need to discourage with the harshest of penalties. If brutally raping an innocent child doesn't meet the minimum standard for imposition of that penalty, then nothing should.

Justices Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer, Stevens and Kennedy voted in the majority. The decision a president makes with the longest lasting impact is nominations to the federal bench including the SCOTUS. The next president will likely name two or three justices. I can not guarantee that Sen. McCain will name justices of the high caliber of Roberts or Alito. However, I can guarantee that Sen. Obama will name ones in line with Ginsberg and Breyer. Obama wouldn't even consider someone for that position unless they were dedicated to protecting the guilty and abandoning the innocent.


Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online's Corner weighs in:
Evolving Standards
The death penalty used to be constitutional for barn-burning, horse stealing, fairly minor thefts etc. I completely agree that our evolving standards of decency make that seem like overkill, pardon the pun. But is it really a sign of our evolving standards of decency that brutally raping a child is also on that list? Are we more decent because we don't consider that a capital offense? I don't really see it.

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Blogger Ben said...

McCain would not have as many appointments as Obama....Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg gone if he wins. Probably two or all of them would try and hang on again if Mccain wins.

at least that is how i see it.

June 25, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Blogger LargeBill said...

I agree that Obama would certainly get to make replacements as it seems a couple are clearly waiting for President Bush to be out of office to retire. However, I'm confident McCain would replace a couple regardless of their intentions. Here are the justice's ages as of January 2012:
Roberts 57
Stevens 92
Scalia 76
Kennedy 76
Souter 73
Thomas 64
Ginsberg 79
Breyer 74
Alito 62

Other than Alito, Roberts and Thomas, they will all be past the normal retirement age.

June 25, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Blogger Ben said...

I didnt realize Alito was 62. I thought he was younger than Roberts.

June 26, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Blogger LargeBill said...

Yeah, that surprised me as well.

June 26, 2008 at 11:55 AM


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