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nighttimer
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A ideologically divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the application of the death penalty to juvenile killers.

The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of 72 murderers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.

The executions, the court said, violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"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," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

The ruling continues the court's practice of narrowing the scope of the death penalty, which justices reinstated in 1976. Executions for those 15 and younger when they committed their crimes were outlawed in 1988. Three years ago justices banned death sentences for the mentally retarded.

Tuesday's ruling prevents states from making 16- and 17-year-olds eligible for execution.


Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.

"The court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: 'In the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty.'"

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...eath_penalty_10

As the article states among the 72 murderers who will not face the death penalty is Lee Malvo, who was convicted in the Washington D.C./Virginia shooting spree that left 10 people dead.

The question for debate is:

Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?
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overlandsailor
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?

I do agree, though I must confess that my view may be tainted, as I am opposed to the death penalty in general. However, I agree with the greater principle that I see at the heart of this issue. A principle the Justices were careful not to definitively address.

The issue of charging juveniles as adults has always been a tough one for me. Those opposed point out, as the justices did, that the age of 18 is the defining age of responsibility in our land. Those in support point to the horrors and tragedies of unimaginably brutal crimes committed by the hands of the young.

For me it becomes a question of approach. Should we charge Juveniles as adults? No. We do not grant them adult status in virtually any other areas of life. We do this because we do not feel they are responsible enough to make proper decisions. Yet, we would hold them accountable for some decisions, on the same level as an adult, simply because of their grotesque nature. To me, this is a hypocrisy of the highest order, and a cop out of sorts.

There is no question that there are children who commit horrendous crimes. And there is no question that, for the good of our society we need to punish criminals with punishments that fit the crime, even when the criminal is a child. But I wonder, why is it, we do not change the punishment limits that restrict juvenile courts instead of charge them as adults?

When a child commits a horrible crime, that child needs to be punished. This is not to seek rehabilitation (though we should strive for it whenever possible), but to establish order by example, and maintain a civilized society. Children learn by example. Sometimes the example is set by the adults in their life (for good or ill), sometimes the example is set by their peers (for good or ill), and sometimes the example is set by society (for good or ill).

However, Children are logical creatures. I see this logic at work behind the eyes of my daughter on a daily basis. When we abandon logic, in favor of emotion, or in favor of the "easy fix" they see it, they question it, and they sometimes question the source. When authority figures loose credibility in the eyes of our children, we risk dooming these children to a life of selfish greed, satisfied to the detriment of the rest of us.

Do take the easy way out. Do not decide to treat a child as an adult. Decide to treat children as children, but be willing to hold them accountable for their actions, with punishments that match the level of the crime committed. Do not selectively apply a different legal standard to juveniles when it makes you feel better, reform the juvenile legal system so that when the crime is heinous, so is the punishment. At least then, we can teach children the ways of individual responsiblity, though example, without the hypocrisy.

Edited to add: Nighttimer, this might be considered a Duplicate topic. The other can be found here. I am not sure if it is or it isn't, but if it is, I hope your poll can stay up as the other does not have one.
aevans176
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Mar 1 2005, 02:58 PM)
As the article states among the 72 murderers who will not face the death penalty is Lee Malvo, who was convicted in the Washington D.C./Virginia shooting spree that left 10 people dead.

The question for debate is:

Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers?  Why or why not?
*



I always appreciate your posts NT, and this one is great because I don't know that it will turn competely into a partisan discussion. (*crossing fingers*)

I also appreciate the note that Lee Malvo will be included in the group receiving clemency.

1. I disagree with forcing lower courts to decide based upon the date of conception of the convicted. This assumes that people cannot reason at 16, for instance. If not, why do we give them driver's licenses? If a 17 year old child murders someone, who do we hold accountable? How long should the sentence be? If it is November and their 18th Birthday is in December, when does the court have the levity to apply the Death Sentence?

I believe that all cases are subjective, and should be left up to appellate courts and possibly even juries. Children obviously learn to reason at different ages, are largely functions of their environments, and for most of their lives have been in the care of their parents (hopefully). That leaves the question; at what point do we hold them accountable? In my eyes, this should be on a case-by-case basis. When should jail time be appropriate but the death sentence not?

2. If the 8th amendment applies to children, why doesn't it apply to everyone? I would venture to guess that the death penalty, in the beginning, was used as a deterrent to committing crimes of this nature. Now there are many young and old people alike whom aren't scared of jail time and know that they won't get the death sentence. This will obviously apply now to children under 18. Why?

In the event that these 16 and 17 year old children now know that they, under any circumstances, won't pay the ultimate price, is jail time enough to cause younger Americans to think twice about murder???
BoF
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Mar 1 2005, 02:27 PM)
I do agree, though I must confess that my view may be tainted, as I am opposed to the death penalty in general.


I agree OLS. I too am opposed to the death penalty in general.

Although I have long been opposed to capital punishment, I am currently reading lawyer/novelists Scott Turow's non-fiction book Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflection on Dealing with the Death Penalty. Turow, who Illinois Governor George Ryan appointed to a commission to study capital punishment, was originally ambivalent about the death penalty. The error rate and exoneration by DNA evidence alone, is enough to confirm my worst fears about he death penalty.

According to Turow:

QUOTE
As of May 2003, the Death Penalty Information Center counted 108 persons who have been sentenced to death in the United States and later legally absolved. page 23


QUOTE(nighttimer @ Mar 1 2005, 01:58 PM)
Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.


Wow am I surprised. This is one of Bush's two favoite justices. rolleyes.gif

QUOTE(Ovelandsailor)
Edited to add:   Nighttimer, this might be considered a Duplicate topic.  The other can be found here.  I am not sure if it is or it isn't, but if it is, I hope your poll can stay up as the other does not have one.


I don't see this as a duplicate thread, since the other thread doesn't ask the specific question about capital punishment, but more general ones about separate standards of justice for juveniles and adults.
ConservPat
QUOTE
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?
While I am very much a death penalty type of guy, I do agree with the Supreme Court. However, some of these kids, particularly the "Zoloft killer" do deserve to spend 20 years in prison. There is nothing cruel and unusual about that. Not treating them like adults doesn't mean they're above the law. Punishment is not illegal. Kids should be detered by stiff punishments just as much as adults. That being said, death is entirely too extreme.

CP us.gif
DaffyGrl
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?

I’m always torn on death penalty issues. I find this especially disturbing in light of some of the heinous crimes lately carried out by 12-17 year olds. It brings up more questions than answers for me. I’ve always felt that if a “child” commits an adult crime (rape, murder, etc.), then they should be treated just like any other criminal.

What about states who recognize 15, 16 or 17 year olds as “adults”?

With the death penalty off the table, where do we put these young criminals?

(That opens up another can of worms. Do we really want to let the kid who took a shotgun and killed his grandparents or the one who killed his mother and chopped off her head and hands lumped in with the taggers and joyriders in juvie? Who’s going to protect the other kids from the “juvenile” psycho- and sociopaths?)

How long do we incarcerate them? As a juvenile, they can only be held until they’re 21, correct?

Are the juvenile laws going to have to be changed so that a juvenile murderer can be sentenced to life?

Do the Supremes take any of this into consideration? wacko.gif

Aquilla
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?



No, I think this decision is yet another attempt by the court to wrest control from elected state legislatures in an area that is clearly a matter of public policy rightfully determined by the elected representatives of the people. It may indeed be just another backdoor chipping away of death penalty statutes by those opposed to the death penalty in general. To do so under the broadbrush auspices of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments is less an argument concerning the age of the defendent and more considering the basic legality of the death penalty in general. It appears to me that this court is on the road towards excluding more and more "protected classes" from eligibility until the point is reached where there are so many of those immune from death penalty consideration that an equal protection argument can be waged to eliminate it altogether.

I have only briefly perused the opinion, but it will be interesting to read it and the dissents more in detail.
Hugo
From O'Connor's dissent

QUOTE
Reasonable minds can differ as to the minimum age at which commission of a serious crime should expose the defendant to the death penalty, if at all. Many jurisdictions have abolished capital punishment altogether, while many others have determined that even the most heinous crime, if committed before the age of 18, should not be punishable by death. Indeed, were my office that of a legislator, rather than a judge, then I, too, would be inclined to support legislation setting a minimum age of 18 in this context. But a significant number of States, including Missouri, have decided to make the death penalty potentially available for 17-year-old capital murderers such as respondent. Without a clearer showing that a genuine national consensus forbids the execution of such offenders, this Court should not substitute its own “inevitably subjective judgment” on how best to resolve this difficult moral question for the judgments of the Nation’s democratically elected legislatures. See Thompson, supra, at 854 (O’Connor, J., concurring in judgment). I respectfully dissent.


20 states still allowed the imposition of the death penalty for those under 18. If there had been a Constitutional amendment banning the death penalty for minors it would have required the consensus of 38 states. Amazing how our Court is able to decide that they can lower the requirements to change the Constitution to a lower majority of the states than the three-quarters required by the written Constitution.

The decision is absurd. It is simply one more case of legislating from the bench. Unlike evaluating every minor to decide if he is eligible to drink, or smoke, or drive it is quite cost effective to evaluate a 16 or 17 year old to see if he should be executed.

Since juveniles are not capable of making life and death decisions should not children under 18 be required to get parental consent for an abortion? It seems to me the decision rather or not to have an abortion is a much more complex decision than rather or not to commit murder.

I did not vote in the poll. I could , just like Justice O'Connor, be persuaded to support legislation from the state legislature to eliminate the death penalty for juveniles. I could never be persuaded that there should be federal involvement in this area.
hayleyanne
QUOTE
Justice Scalia, with whom The Chief Justice and Justice Thomas join, dissenting.
    In urging approval of a constitution that gave life-tenured judges the power to nullify laws enacted by the people’s representatives, Alexander Hamilton assured the citizens of New York that there was little risk in this, since “[t]he judiciary … ha[s] neither FORCE nor WILL but merely judgment.” The Federalist No. 78, p. 465 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961). But Hamilton had in mind a traditional judiciary, “bound down by strict rules and precedents which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them.” Id., at 471. Bound down, indeed. What a mockery today’s opinion makes of Hamilton’s expectation, announcing the Court’s conclusion that the meaning of our Constitution has changed over the past 15 years–not, mind you, that this Court’s decision 15 years ago was wrong, but that the Constitution has changed. The Court reaches this implausible result by purporting to advert, not to the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment, but to “the evolving standards of decency,” ante, at 6 (internal quotation marks omitted), of our national society. It then finds, on the flimsiest of grounds, that a national consensus which could not be perceived in our people’s laws barely 15 years ago now solidly exists. Worse still, the Court says in so many words that what our people’s laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: “[I]n the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment.” Ante, at 9 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation’s moral standards–and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures. Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent.

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-633.ZD1.html


Whether you agree with the result in this case or not, I think it is undeniable that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds by substituting its moral judgment for that of the States.
BoF
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 1 2005, 07:31 PM)
Whether you agree with the result in this case or not, I think it is undeniable that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds by substituting its moral judgment for that of the States.


You have got to be kidding. I live in the state that is most impacted by this decision. It’s hard to think moral when you are considering Texas, including the state's conveyor belt to death row. I welcome anything that overrules Texas and the triumvirate of bad government: Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick.

From the source in nighttimer’s original post:

QUOTE
Twenty-two of the people put to death since then were juveniles when they committed their crimes. Texas executed the most, 13, and also has the most on death row now — 29.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...eath_penalty_10

The court has thrown a velvet monkey wrench into the cogs of the Texas death machine. Good!
Google
hayleyanne
QUOTE
You have got to be kidding. I live in the state that is most impacted by this decision. It’s hard to think moral when you are considering Texas, including the state's conveyor belt to death row. I welcome anything that overrules Texas and the triumvirate of bad government: Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick.


That is not the point Bof. The point is that you should be working to overturn the death penalty in Texas then. It is not the Court's job to do it.
BoF
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 1 2005, 08:09 PM)
That is not the point Bof.  The point is that you should be working to overturn the death penalty in Texas then.  It is not the Court's job to do it.


Don't think I haven't spent years fighting capital punishment.

The point you make is the point only if one subscribes to your definition of the court's role. Obviously, I take another view of the court's power.
nighttimer
I disagree with Justice Scalia and Haleyanne that the majority of the Supreme Court is imposing it's moral judgment over that of the states. It appears they are imposing their legal judgment over the states, which is within their sphere of influence.

I am conflicted about this decision. Despite my "liberal" leanings, I support the usage of the death penalty. But like abortion, I believe it should be utilized rarely and the execution of murderers who committed their crimes as minors troubles me. On the other hand, there are rare incidents where the crimes are so heinous and calculated that the ultimate penalty may be called for.

Consider this: had they not killed themselves of the two Columbine shooters, only Eric Harris would face the death penalty as he was 18 years old at the time. Dylan Klebold was 17. I can't draw that fine of a distinction between an 18 year-old being accountable for his crimes, while a criminal who is 17 years and 11 months old is not.

But I agree with Justice Kennedy: . The susceptibility of juveniles to immature and irresponsible behavior means "their irresponsible conduct is not as morally reprehensible as that of an adult." The reality that juveniles still struggle to define their identity means it is less supportable to conclude that even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile is evidence of irretrievably depraved character. From a moral standpoint it would be misguided to equate the failings of a minor with those of an adult, for a greater possibility exists that a minor's character deficiencies will be reformed.

In concluding that neither retribution nor deterrence provides adequate justification for imposing the death penalty on juvenile offenders, we cannot deny or overlook the brutal crimes too many juvenile offenders have committed. Certainly it can be argued, although we by no means concede the point, that a rare case might arise in which a juvenile offender has sufficient psychological maturity, and at the same time demonstrates sufficient depravity, to merit a sentence of death. We disagree. The differences between juvenile and adult offenders are too marked and well understood to risk allowing a youthful person to receive the death penalty despite insufficient culpability.

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. The opinion of the world community, while not controlling our outcome, does provide respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions.


http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/11024172.htm

Apparently, despite what aevans172 hoped would not become a paritsan fight, some critics of the decision (such as Justice Scalia) have seized upon Kennedy's remarks about "international opinion" as a source for criticism. But I don't believe it harms the U.S. to no longer be a part of a small group of nations that puts people to death for the crimes they committed as juveniles.

hmmm.gif

overlandsailor
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 1 2005, 07:31 PM)
Whether you agree with the result in this case or not, I think it is undeniable that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds by substituting its moral judgment for that of the States.
*



This is slightly off topic, but I am trying to understand the reasoning here. Since you feel that it is not the courts role to substitute it's moral judgement for that of the states, then can I assume you believe the same of the rest of the federal government? As in, no federal laws past to impose moral standards on the states?
tigereyes2210
QUOTE(DaffyGrl @ Mar 1 2005, 03:24 PM)

I’m always torn on death penalty issues. I find this especially disturbing in light of some of the heinous crimes lately carried out by 12-17 year olds. It brings up more questions than answers for me. I’ve always felt that if a “child” commits an adult crime (rape, murder, etc.), then they should be treated just like any other criminal.



I agree. There is no defining moment at age eighteen when a person suddenly becomes responsible for their actions.
Jaime
QUOTE(tigereyes2210 @ Mar 1 2005, 10:12 PM)
I agree. There is no defining moment at age eighteen when a person suddenly becomes responsible for their actions.
*

Welcome tigereyes2210 - since you're new you likely didn't realize one-liners are agaist the Rules because they are not constructive. Please remember to bring substance to the debates. Thanks. smile.gif

TOPICS:
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?

Aquilla
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Mar 1 2005, 07:10 PM)
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 1 2005, 07:31 PM)
Whether you agree with the result in this case or not, I think it is undeniable that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds by substituting its moral judgment for that of the States.
*



This is slightly off topic, but I am trying to understand the reasoning here. Since you feel that it is not the courts role to substitute it's moral judgement for that of the states, then can I assume you believe the same of the rest of the federal government? As in, no federal laws past to impose moral standards on the states?
*




OS, you're missing the point here. It is not the role of the courts to write law, rather only to interpret it. In the case of this judgement, the court used a rather nebulous definition of the US Constitution in order to justify substituting their moral judgement for that of elected state legislatures and overturning the will of the people in order to assert their own code of morality. And, near as I can tell from scanning the opinion, they did so rather selectively and inconsistantly with past court opinions. Why, for example does capital punishment violate the 8th amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment for a 17 year old and not apply to an 18 year old? On the basis that am 18 year old can sign a contract and vote? That seems to me to be a pretty weak argument.

Edited to further answer your question.....

Elected federal instututions such as the Congress also represent the will of the people and thus have a role in passing federal laws that reflect that will even though it make conflict with the laws passed by some states. When such a conflict arises, the courts properly get involved to resolve that conflict. This case has nothing whatsoever ever to do with such a conflict. Instead, we have 5 un-elected justices determining that the state of Missouri's legislation is improper because basically those un-elected 5 don't agree with the law on moral grounds. If they don't like it, fine, they can resign from the court and run for office in Missouri and if elected work to change the law. It is not for them to arbitrarily change it from the bench.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?

I think that if we actually believe that when a person reaches 18, then the person becomes accountable for what he or she does, yes.

But then, I am for abolishing the death penalty, period. How do you teach someone the wrongness of killing by having the state commit the very thing that the person was convicted of doing?

I know that many base their acceptance of the death penalty on what is written in the Bible. While it is true that the Old Testament prescribes death for a good many offenses and the phrase "an eye for an eye" can be found therein, the New Testament says things about maintaining the sanctity of life and abandoning revenge. One passage reads:
QUOTE
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."[reference Leviticus 19:18]. Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." [reference Proverbs 25:21-22] Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.--Romans 12:19-21, New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition

Execution is certainly "cruel and unusual punishment," and as such, the death penalty should not only be abandoned for the young or the mentally deficient, but for all offenders.
Sevac
QUOTE
Execution is certainly "cruel and unusual punishment," and as such, the death penalty should not only be abandoned for the young or the mentally deficient, but for all offenders.


I can entirely agree to this statement. If executing a person is not a cruel punishment, then what is? That opens up a can of worms in the debate about torturing terrorists btw.

If a person commits a murder, he solemly is responisbly and needs to be punished. Now consider the possibility [however unlikely] that the state executes an innocent person. Who is responsible then? Who will be punished then? If you are so anxious to punish those who have killed a person, how could you stand aside if someone innocent was put to death.
No, I am against the whole thing, juveniles, mentally retarded, mundanes.
Of course the victims will cry for retaliation or satisfaction. But an eye for an eye? Where are we, Middle Ages?

But it's good to see that the Suprme Court finally has come one step closer to stop misinterpreting the constitution.
hayleyanne
Overland Sailor wrote:

QUOTE
This is slightly off topic, but I am trying to understand the reasoning here. Since you feel that it is not the courts role to substitute its moral judgment for that of the states, then can I assume you believe the same of the rest of the federal government? As in, no federal laws passed to impose moral standards on the states?



No. Don’t assume that. It is not the federal government that I object to – it is five unelected old men and women. My point is best illustrated by Scalia:


QUOTE
Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent.



Five members of the Court do not have the right to substitute their moral judgment for the judgment of the people in those states that permit the death penalty for those under 18. They even acknowledge that: “in the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under Eighth Amendment.” They essentially, as Scalia so aptly points out, have appointed themselves the sole arbiter of our country’s moral standards. On what authority?

They are unelected. Moreover, they do not even pretend to base their opinion on the intent of the Constitution. Instead, they base it on “the evolving standards of decency”. Whose standards? Their subjective standards? The standards of the EU? The standards of Amnesty international?

Laws enacted by the federal government are entirely different. First, the federal government has the authority under the Constitution to enact laws (assuming they act within the enumerated powers like the Commerce clause). Second, if the people of this country object to those laws, they have some recourse. Vote the legislators out of office and vote in those who will repeal the objectionable law
nighttimer
When the states pass bad laws who will tell them if not the Supreme Court? When the states do not provide evenhanded justice for all its citizens, who steps in to tell them they must?

If the states send innocent men and women to Death Row, where do they turn to if the Supreme Court says, "Sorry. We don't want to step on the toes of the state."

Both Aquilla and Haleyanne have made crystal clear that they feel "five unelected old men and a woman" have overreached and imposed their own personal viewpoints over the right of the states to enact and enforce their own laws. I disagree. What the Supreme Court has done is take us one step closer to ending the errors, discrimination, inequities and illogic in the application of the death penalty.

Despite Scalia's petulant dissent, nobody is going to be set free due to the high court's ruling. Young men will grow up and die as old men in prison including Christopher Simmons, the killer at the heart of this ruling. He's not going to walk the streets breathing the air as a free man anytime in the near future.

The United States likes to portray itself as the example for other nations to emulate, but until yesterday it was part of a handful of countries that put juveniles to death for their crimes. According to Human Rights Watch, since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstituted in the United States, 22 child offenders have been executed. With the Supreme Court's decision, the juvenile death penalty remains in force in only five countries in the world-China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia has not executed a child offender since 1992 and the Congo has had a moratorium in effect since 2002.

There is a need for an ultimate penalty to be levied against the worst predators preying on society. However, the death penalty is at best, seriously flawed and at worst, broken beyond repair. As presently constructed, it does not work. If there is to be a death penalty it has to be fixed and applied in a more effective, less capricious manner.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 01:27 AM)
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Mar 1 2005, 07:10 PM)
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 1 2005, 07:31 PM)
Whether you agree with the result in this case or not, I think it is undeniable that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds by substituting its moral judgment for that of the States.
*



This is slightly off topic, but I am trying to understand the reasoning here. Since you feel that it is not the courts role to substitute it's moral judgement for that of the states, then can I assume you believe the same of the rest of the federal government? As in, no federal laws past to impose moral standards on the states?
*




OS, you're missing the point here. It is not the role of the courts to write law, rather only to interpret it. In the case of this judgement, the court used a rather nebulous definition of the US Constitution in order to justify substituting their moral judgement for that of elected state legislatures and overturning the will of the people in order to assert their own code of morality....

Elected federal institutions such as the Congress also represent the will of the people and thus have a role in passing federal laws that reflect that will even though it make conflict with the laws passed by some states. When such a conflict arises, the courts properly get involved to resolve that conflict. This case has nothing whatsoever ever to do with such a conflict. Instead, we have 5 un-elected justices determining that the state of Missouri's legislation is improper because basically those un-elected 5 don't agree with the law on moral grounds....
*




QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 2 2005, 05:51 AM)
No.  Don’t assume that.  It is not the federal government that I object to – it is five unelected old men and women. 

Five members of the Court do not have the right to substitute their moral judgment for the judgment of the people in those states that permit the death penalty for those under 18.... 

Laws enacted by the federal government are entirely different.  First, the federal government has the authority under the Constitution to enact laws (assuming they act within the enumerated powers like the Commerce clause).  Second, if the people of this country object to those laws, they have some recourse.  Vote the legislators out of office and vote in those who will repeal the objectionable law
*



OK, so if I am understanding you both correctly, your argument has nothing to do with state's rights of self-determination. If the Congress had passed a law making this change (assuming it was upheld by the USSC) you would approve of it then?

Side Note:
As for:
QUOTE
(assuming they act within the enumerated powers like the Commerce clause)


If that standard was truly applied then about 70% of the federal government would not exist.
Aquilla
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Mar 2 2005, 08:12 AM)
OK, so if I am understanding you both correctly, your argument has nothing to do with state's rights of self-determination.  If the Congress had passed a law making this change (assuming it was upheld by the USSC) you would approve of it then?

*



hmmm.gif There are a couple of things at work here. Number one is the law itself and number two is the method of legislating that law.

For number one, if Congress passed a law stating that under no circumstances could an individual recieve the death penalty for a crime committed before the individual turned 18 (which is essentially what the SC said), then I would oppose that law. But, my opposition would be based on the fact that I believe there are certain crimes committed under certain circumstances that would warrant such a punishment for a 17 year old. That would be the basis for my opposition, but hey, if Congress voted for such a law, so be it. As with any issue, if I disagree with what Congress has done I have the opportunity and right to work to change things in Congress through the democratic process. When the court arbitrarily makes such legislation it strips me of my rights as a citizen to participate in the process to make changes to laws I don't agree with. As it stands right now even if this was the most important issue to me there is basically nothing I could do about it short of the Constitutional Amendment route. That is the only way for the elected branches of our government to over-rule the Supreme Court when the court over-steps it's bounds. That's why we keep hearing about all these proposed amendments floating around out there. That's not how our system is supposed to work.

So, my opposition to this decision is two-fold. Primary being that I object to the court depriving me and my fellow citizens of the right to codify our society's moral standards through the democratic process. Secondarily, I do think there are situations where the death penalty is appropriate for a 17 year old, and we could most certainly discuss that aspect in another thread I think.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 10:38 AM)
...but hey, if Congress voted for such a law, so be it.  As with any issue, if I disagree with what Congress has done I have the opportunity and right to work to change things in Congress through the democratic process. 

When the court arbitrarily makes such legislation it strips me of my rights as a citizen to participate in the process to make changes to laws I don't agree with.  As it stands right now even if this was the most important issue to me there is basically nothing I could do about it short of the Constitutional Amendment route.  That is the only way for the elected branches of our government to over-rule the Supreme Court when the court over-steps it's bounds.  That's why we keep hearing about all these proposed amendments floating around out there.  That's not how our system is supposed to work.
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Actually, that is how our system is supposed to work. The Supreme Court is supposed to interpret law within the constitutional context to determine if it is valid or not. This is what they did. Some disagree with the decision they made, and the legal argument they based the decision on, but that is the process they followed.

Now, the check and balance on the court is the Amendment process. If you disagree with a ruling of the court then you have every right to seek to amend the constitution to resolve the issue. You can choose to do this through the congress or through the states but you have the option.

Countering the judicial branch was purposefully made difficult (but certainly not impossible) by the founding father's, just as over-riding a Presidential veto was made difficult (but not impossible). The founding father's did not want to see these checks and balances abused, so they made them relatively hard to use.

As for the decision itself, IMHO it is hard to argue against it on legal grounds. With an open ended provision like "cruel and unusual punishment". Personally, I think it is cruel and unusual to put a child to death, holding them to that level of accoutability for their actions when they would not even be allowed to sign up for cell phone service on their own, because they could not be held legally accountable for their end of the contract.

The issue I have with this, and many other cases like it, is NOT that I think children should not be punished, or even punished harshly, it is that we have a separate process for dealing with underage criminals. We can reform that process to realistically punish juveniles for their crimes, but doing an end run around it and charging them as adults, when we do not see them as adults in any other fashion is plainly wrong. Juveniles cannot even legally consent to talking to investigators without their parents being notified and granting permission (possibly depending on your local / state laws).

hayleyanne

QUOTE
OK, so if I am understanding you both correctly, your argument has nothing to do with state's rights of self-determination.  If the Congress had passed a law making this change (assuming it was upheld by the USSC) you would approve of it then?


Yes, you are understanding me correctly. I do not support the death penalty for juveniles. The death penalty is supposedly justified because of its deterrent effect. I believe this is questionable, but particularly so with respect to juveniles. With their sense of immortality that goes with immaturity, I find it hard to believe that the death penalty would provide any deterrence to their actions. If I had to personally vote on the issue, I would side with the result of the majority of the Supreme Court in this case.

That having been said, I am outraged that the Court made the decision. Based on what -- I ask again -- did they make this decision. Precedent from just 15 years ago did not hold that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment. The language of the Constitution is quite broad and can be "interpreted" to mean anything you want. What I see here is an aggriegious abuse of power.

I would ask that you please consider it from my perspective. What if the Supreme Court had held something completely contrary to what you believe is correct from any perspective, moral, legal, historical. But because they say so, it is the law of the Land. Why are you willing to give so much power to nine old men and women in robes?
overlandsailor
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 2 2005, 12:27 PM)
That having been said, I am outraged that the Court made the decision.  Based on what -- I ask again -- did they make this decision.  Precedent from just 15 years ago did not hold that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment.  The language of the Constitution is quite broad and can be "interpreted" to mean anything you want.  What I see here is an aggriegious abuse of power.


In the law we hold children to different standards then adults, we treat children differently in criminal and civil cases then adults, and we do not recognize that children have rights to vote, serve in the military, drink, smoke, engage is sexual relations, etc because of their juvenile status.

Because of this long history, as well as the constitution setting all sorts of age requirements (using age as a measure of experience and wisdom(though there are certainly exceptions wink.gif )) I think it is reasonable to think something is cruel and unusual for minors that we would not consider cruel and unusual for adults, and thus treat it differently.

QUOTE
I would ask that you please consider it from my perspective.  What if the Supreme Court had held something completely contrary to what you believe is correct from any perspective, moral, legal, historical.  But because they say so, it is the law of the Land.  Why are you willing to give so much power to nine old men and women in robes?
*



We don't, we can counter their power with the amendment process. Just because passing an amendment is difficult, does not make it impossible.
Bikerdad
I disagree with the decision on three grounds.

The first ground is Federalism. This is an overreach by the Federal government into matters that are the purview of the states. Of course, this particular objection is, as a practical matter of pseudo-Constitutional law, extremely weak. Nonetheless, I just thought it appropriate to toss in there, because the fate of the state's sovereignty is illustrative of my second objection.

Second, the basis for the decision was not the United States Constitution, nor past SCOTUS decisions. The majority have stated that they are bringing America into line with the rest of the world. They are subsuming our sovereignty to outside forces, and they are doing so in a fashion that is completely at odds with the tenets of our republican democracy. Regardless of whether or not you endorse the death penalty, this alone should be sufficient to toss this decision. How many of you who claim that Bush was "selected, not elected" accept this decision, which, unlike the 2000 Election decision, isn't even based in American law!

Third, the majority, in making this decision, have blown more holes into the separation of powers, not only in the government, but between the government and the people. The expression of the electorate's sense of decency via their legislators now does not matter. The role of the executive branch in dealing with foreign powers has been undermined. And the fundamental role of the people in the application of justice has been further compromised. The reason we have a guarantee of trial by jury is so that the government isn't the sole arbitrator of guilt or innocence, nor of punishment. 5 Supremes have decided that they are more capable of determining the cognizance and culpability of every juvenile offender in America than are the juries that actually hear the cases. The facts of this case alone demonstrate how ludicrous a notion they're holding.

The 5 Justices who voted for this should be impeached for violating their oaths to uphold the Constitution and protect the United States, which means, among other things, keeping our sovereignty inviolate.
deathalive
No way minors should be exempt from the punishment that everyone else in the state/ country would get. I myself am a minor and I believe that if you let a kid off the hook and give him some prison time and not put'em on the slab then they will most certainly do it again thinking that "hey I got a way with it before. Whats stopping me now?" Here is a scenario that is becoming more and more common: a 16 year old is in a gang. He is the one holding the gun, pulling the trigger during a drive-by that kills a child and it's mother. I mean are you gonna tell me that you think the 16 year old should be let off the hook. NO way. He deserves to fry. People are starting to say that maybe minors are not able to comprehend what they are really doing. I say if you put the bullets in the gun point the gun and pull the trigger then you know exactly what you'r doing. If the supreme cout changes this I assure you that there will be an upsurge in minor's killing others. The mere fact that minors kill people in the first place is atrocious but to let them get away with it and live long enough to get out and do it again is completely out-of-the question!
ConservPat
QUOTE
if you let a kid off the hook and give him some prison time and not put'em on the slab then they will most certainly do it again thinking that "hey I got a way with it before. Whats stopping me now?"
Well, I'd hardly consider 20 years in jail "getting away with it. Some folks make it sound as if jail is not a punishment. Jail sucks...That's what it's there for. If a 16 year old kid thinks that jail is "getting away with it", then that kid is in the slim minority. Spending the best years of your life in jail is more than enough punisment for a 16 year old who killed somebody.

QUOTE
Here is a scenario that is becoming more and more common: a 16 year old is in a gang. He is the one holding the gun, pulling the trigger during a drive-by that kills a child and it's mother. I mean are you gonna tell me that you think the 16 year old should be let off the hook. NO way. He deserves to fry.
As horrific a scenario as that is, again, why do you consider jail "letting someone off the hook"? What is your perception of what jail is, I'm curious.

CP us.gif
deathalive
My perception of jail is a waiting house where anger and tension can build up until they are released for "good behavior" and they are free to kill again. It is the responsibility of the state and the country to ensure that convicted criminals young and old deserve to take the needle. If people like Dahmer and Gein were minors would we have them imprisoned for 20 years until they are "cured"? I think not. The fact of the matter is that Minor or not you committed the crime you knew what you were doing and you deserve to have your life stripped from you just like you did to the person you killed. It may be crude but the only way to ensure that we are serious about reducing crime is to start killing the ones that kill. "An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth".
ConservPat
QUOTE
My perception of jail is a waiting house where anger and tension can build up until they are released for "good behavior" and they are free to kill again.
A waiting house? That makes me think of a big waiting room where convicted murderers wait reading the National Enquirer, then, twenty years later, leave...and then go kill someone else. Jail is torture. And as I said, I'm all for the death penalty for adults. But to kill a minor is a bit extreme. I don't know the number for sure, but I'd bet that the majority of murderers, who spend time in jail don't go out and kill someone after they're freed.

QUOTE
If people like Dahmer and Gein were minors would we have them imprisoned for 20 years until they are "cured"? I think not.
I don't believed that I said anything about "curing" anybody. The concept of rehabilitation for murderers is beyond me. I don't believe that jail is a place where curing occurs. Jail is for punishment...Again, jail is punishment.

QUOTE
may be crude but the only way to ensure that we are serious about reducing crime is to start killing the ones that kill.
If [and I'm assuming you believe this to be true, tell me if I'm wrong] murderers are crazy, helpless, unrehabilitate-able [Hi, I make up words sometimes tongue.gif ] people, then how would anything deter murderers?

CP us.gif
Amlord
Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?

This ruling is badly flawed.

First off, an observation: the majority of the posts agreeing with this ruling have done so on the basis of a general opposition to the death penalty. The death penalty itself remains Constitutional, so this appeal to "why should the government kill people" has no bearing on this particular question for debate.

This debate should be centered around one topic: is there a national consensus that the death penalty should not apply to minors? Clearly, there is not. 38 states have the death penalty. Of those, 20 allow murderers under the age of 18 to be executed (not including Missouri, whose Supreme Court ruled the practice un-Constitutional by state law). That leaves 47% of states with death penalties opposed to the execution of minors. Not a consensus. Even if we expand it to all states, 18 out of 50 states allow minors to receive the death penalty. 38% of states' opinions should be discarded?

As others have stated, the real way to change this would have been through the legislature. Change the laws of the states involved. No one has a problem with that enforcement of the will of the people. The way 5 men and women interpret the "will of the people" is astounding to me.

Other issues injected into this debate (even by the Justices in the majority) as simple red herrings. International opinion on this matter has nothing to do with the Constitution and should have absolutely nothing to do with this ruling.

What is astounding about this case is how (apparently) quickly the "consensus" of the country has evolved. In 1989, the court declared the death penalty for minors Constitutional. The crime involved in this case was committed in 1993. The lawyers for Simmons have been delaying enforcement of his sentence until now. Presumably, had Simmons been executed in the first 11 years after his sentence was imposed, doing so would have been Constitutional. Today (after the fact) it is not. In the past 10 years, 4 states have passed laws removing the death penalty for minors. So apparently, these 4 states have swung the balance from it being Constitutional in 1993 (when the crime was committed) to it being un-Constitutional in 2005. Has the meaning of the Constitutional really changed in the past 15 years?

The other astonishing factor here is the details of the crime. Simmons (and a friend) kidnapped Shirley Crook from her home during a robbery in 1993. There is evidence that Simmons and others planned the robbery in advance and had talked about throwing the victim off of a bridge. Simmons tied Crook up, after she recognized him, with electrical cord, leather straps, and duct tape. He beat her badly enough to fracture her ribs (according to the medical examiner) and tossed her, still alive, off a bridge into the Meramec River. The cause of death was drowning. Imagine what kind of person throws a still alive person off a bridge while she is tightly bound. As Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said "I don't believe that Chris Simmons' life would have been turned around by one more birthday party."

Rough Justice The legal justification for this ruling is also deeply flawed. Kennedy, writing for the majority, invokes the American Psychological Association to say that minors cannot take moral responsibility for their decisions. This same group argued exactly the opposite when the issue was parental consent for abortions.

QUOTE
Abortion figures heavily in Scalia's critique. He tweaks liberals who think minors are mature enough to make abortion decisions but not mature enough to deserve execution.

QUOTE(Scalia's dissent)
As petitioner points out, the American Psychological Association (APA), which claims in this case that scientific evidence shows persons under 18 lack the ability to take moral responsibility for their decisions, has previously taken precisely the opposite position before this very Court. In its brief in Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U. S. 417 (1990), the APA found a "rich body of research" showing that juveniles are mature enough to decide whether to obtain an abortion without parental involvement. ... The APA brief, citing psychology treatises and studies too numerous to list here, asserted: "[B]y middle adolescence (age 14-15) young people develop abilities similar to adults in reasoning about moral dilemmas, understanding social rules and laws, [and] reasoning about interpersonal relationships and interpersonal problems."



The international references are also deeply flawed.

Kennedy, in his majority opinion, also refers to international standards, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the US is not a signatory. How a sitting Supreme Court justice could use the laws of other nations in his interpretation of our law is beyond me.

From the WSJ editorial page: The Blue State Court

QUOTE
Perhaps the most troubling feature of Roper is that it extends the High Court's recent habit of invoking foreign opinion in order to overrule American laws. "It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty," Justice Kennedy writes. We thought the Constitution was the final arbiter of U.S. law, but apparently that's passé.
In invoking international "opinion," however, the majority also seems rather selective. Justice Kennedy cites the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which outlaws the juvenile death penalty. But that Convention also prohibits imprisonment without parole for juvenile offenders--a penalty favored by some, if not all, 50 states. Is the Court ready to sign on to that international standard too?

Such inconsistency suggests that the real reason this Court has taken to invoking "international opinion" is because it is one more convenient rationale that the Justices can use to make their own moral values the law of the land. And it is no surprise that Justice Kennedy's majority opinion is joined by the four liberal Justices who have long been on record as opposing the juvenile death penalty--Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens. In Roper they finally found a case, and an inventive legal hook, on which they could lure Justice Kennedy.


I do agree with the Journal's conclusion on this subject:
QUOTE
If there is a silver lining to this case, it is that it probably disqualifies Justice Kennedy from any consideration to be promoted to Chief Justice when William Rehnquist resigns. Some in Washington, and even some in the Bush Administration, have floated this possibility as a way to ensure an easy Senate confirmation. But we doubt that the red-state voters who re-elected President Bush, and gave Republicans a larger majority in the Senate, did so to promote a Justice who thinks their values are an affront to "standards of decency."
deathalive
QUOTE(ConservPat @ Mar 2 2005, 04:08 PM)
QUOTE
My perception of jail is a waiting house where anger and tension can build up until they are released for "good behavior" and they are free to kill again.
A waiting house? That makes me think of a big waiting room where convicted murderers wait reading the National Enquirer, then, twenty years later, leave...and then go kill someone else. Jail is torture. And as I said, I'm all for the death penalty for adults. But to kill a minor is a bit extreme. I don't know the number for sure, but I'd bet that the majority of murderers, who spend time in jail don't go out and kill someone after they're freed.

QUOTE
If people like Dahmer and Gein were minors would we have them imprisoned for 20 years until they are "cured"? I think not.
I don't believed that I said anything about "curing" anybody. The concept of rehabilitation for murderers is beyond me. I don't believe that jail is a place where curing occurs. Jail is for punishment...Again, jail is punishment.

QUOTE
may be crude but the only way to ensure that we are serious about reducing crime is to start killing the ones that kill.
If [and I'm assuming you believe this to be true, tell me if I'm wrong] murderers are crazy, helpless, unrehabilitate-able [Hi, I make up words sometimes tongue.gif ] people, then how would anything deter murderers?

CP us.gif
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Last question first. We put down the murderers we have and make sure that people know that we will do it to them to if they choose to murder. Although you did not say cure but you had implied that jail is to be a way to correct a persons actions. What is done is done and they need to pay for it. In foreign countries if you steal they cut off your hand if you rape they remove yor genitals and if you kill especially if you kill a child or a mother they take your head and post it for all to see in town square. We have a humane system and we have an unbiased system (mostly) that we use just to send someone to prison and have them take beatings from guards and other inmates just to get out and let all their rage and hatred out on the public that they have been released to.
BoF
After years of listening to people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (and recently conservatives on this very board) accuse liberals of whining, it really does my heart a world of good to hear so many conservatives whining about this decision. Don’t worry. If Bush get’s the opportunity to appoint a few more justices of the same stripes as Scalia or Thomas—the two he so admires—then this decision will probably be overturned in a few years. As part of my graduate school curriculum, I took Constitutional law. One of the things Professor Atkins stressed was that the Bill of Rights was made applicable to the states through Amendment XIV. What has changed in the last 40 years other than conservative sensibilities? I personally don’t find a state’s violation of rights any less egregious than when the federal government does it.

I find the argument that the Supreme Court lacks authority in this case lacking.

QUOTE
Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
ConservPat
QUOTE
Last question first. We put down the murderers we have and make sure that people know that we will do it to them to if they choose to murder.
People do know that we'll do it to them if they choose to murder, and yet, we still have murderers...But again, I'm all for the death penalty in the case of adults.

QUOTE
Although you did not say cure but you had implied that jail is to be a way to correct a persons actions.
Actually I never implied that. What I've said is that jail is "torture", "punishment" and that it "sucks". Not once have I come close to implying that it corrects behavior.

QUOTE
In foreign countries if you steal they cut off your hand if you rape they remove yor genitals and if you kill especially if you kill a child or a mother they take your head and post it for all to see in town square.
Yes, I'm sure foreign countries did that...In the 1600's. Yes, I'm aware that some countries still do that today...Which makes it right? I hope your town square example was meant as a metaphor by the way.

QUOTE
We have a humane system and we have an unbiased system (mostly) that we use just to send someone to prison and have them take beatings from guards and other inmates just to get out and let all their rage and hatred out on the public that they have been released to.
Unless you can prove to me that most prisoners convicted of murder that are not executed go out and kill someone else after being released, what you're saying is a falacy.

CP us.gif
Aquilla
QUOTE(BoF @ Mar 2 2005, 02:55 PM)
After years of listening to people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (and recently conservatives on this very board) accuse liberals of whining, it really does my heart a world of good to hear so many conservatives whining about this decision. Don’t worry. If Bush get’s the opportunity to appoint a few more justices of the same stripes as Scalia or Thomas—the two he so admires—then this decision will probably be overturned in a few years. As part of my graduate school curriculum, I took Constitutional law. One of the things Professor Atkins stressed was that the Bill of Rights was made applicable to the states through Amendment XIV. What has changed in the last 40 years other than conservative sensibilities? I personally don’t find a state’s violation of rights any less egregious than when the federal government does it.

I find the argument that the Supreme Court lacks authority in this case lacking.

QUOTE
Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

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Ignoring the typical partisan garbage contained in the first part of your post, BoF, I can only suggest that perhaps you might ask Professor Aktins for a partial refund of the money you put out for him to teach your course in Constitutional Law. Apparently, he forgot to tell you about another part of the 14th amendment. The part that says the following:

QUOTE
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


I underlined the "Cliff Notes" part of it for you so you don't try to sue poor old Prof Atkins. "Congress" "power" "legislate". Not "Supreme Court" "power" "legislate". Get the difference?
Cyan
BoF and Aquilla, The partisan jabs and the belittling commentary in this thread need to stop. The issue can be debated effectively without inflaming one another, and it's possible to refute a source without being nasty.

Do you agree with The Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile killers? Why or why not?
BoF
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 05:29 PM)
I can only suggest that perhaps you might ask Professor Aktins for a partial refund of the money you put out for him to teach your course in Constitutional Law.   Apparently, he forgot to tell you about another part of the 14th amendment.    The part that says the following:

QUOTE
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


I underlined the "Cliff Notes" part of it for you so you don't try to sue poor old Prof Atkins. "Congress" "power" "legislate". Not "Supreme Court" "power" "legislate". Get the difference?



Ok, I’ll try a more civilized answer.

The words from The U. S. Constitution Online support what we learned from Professor Atkins. Apparently Cliff Notes interprets things differently. It seems to me that the decision is just another step in the process of incorporation that historically dates back 80 years.

QUOTE
The "Privileges and Immunities Clause" has been interpreted as applying the Bill of Rights, which lists the privileges and immunities of the citizens, to the states. Known as "incorporation," the application of the Bill to the states did not come all at once, nor was it complete. Even today, there are some parts of the Bill which have not been incorporated. The process began unsuccessfully in the late 1800's and continued unsuccessfully right up until the 1930's. In 1947, however, in Adamson v. California (332 U.S. 46 [1947]), the Supreme Court began to accept the argument that the 14th Amendment requires the states to follow the protections of the Bill of Rights. Historians both agreed and disagreed with the Court's contention that the framers of the 14th Amendment intended incorporation since its passage ... but historians do not sit on the Court. Their opinions were less important than those of the Justices.

The process of selectively incorporating the clauses of the Bill of Rights probably began in Twining v. New Jersey (268 U.S. 652 [1925]) which contemplated the incorporation of some of the aspects of the 8th Amendment - not because they were a part of the Bill of Rights but because they seemed to be fundamental to the concept of due process. This process of incorporating parts of the Bill of Rights because of their connection to due process began to run in parallel with the selective incorporation doctrine, where parts of the Bill of Rights were ruled to be enforceable on the states by virtue of the 14th Amendments, whether or not due process applied.


http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_bor.html
Aquilla
QUOTE(BoF @ Mar 2 2005, 04:22 PM)
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 05:29 PM)
I can only suggest that perhaps you might ask Professor Aktins for a partial refund of the money you put out for him to teach your course in Constitutional Law.   Apparently, he forgot to tell you about another part of the 14th amendment.    The part that says the following:

QUOTE
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


I underlined the "Cliff Notes" part of it for you so you don't try to sue poor old Prof Atkins. "Congress" "power" "legislate". Not "Supreme Court" "power" "legislate". Get the difference?



Ok, I’ll try a more civilized answer.

The words from The U. S. Constitution Online support what we learned from Professor Atkins. Apparently Cliff Notes interprets things differently. It seems to me that the decision is just another step in the process of incorporation that historically dates back 80 years.

QUOTE
The "Privileges and Immunities Clause" has been interpreted as applying the Bill of Rights, which lists the privileges and immunities of the citizens, to the states. Known as "incorporation," the application of the Bill to the states did not come all at once, nor was it complete. Even today, there are some parts of the Bill which have not been incorporated. The process began unsuccessfully in the late 1800's and continued unsuccessfully right up until the 1930's. In 1947, however, in Adamson v. California (332 U.S. 46 [1947]), the Supreme Court began to accept the argument that the 14th Amendment requires the states to follow the protections of the Bill of Rights. Historians both agreed and disagreed with the Court's contention that the framers of the 14th Amendment intended incorporation since its passage ... but historians do not sit on the Court. Their opinions were less important than those of the Justices.

The process of selectively incorporating the clauses of the Bill of Rights probably began in Twining v. New Jersey (268 U.S. 652 [1925]) which contemplated the incorporation of some of the aspects of the 8th Amendment - not because they were a part of the Bill of Rights but because they seemed to be fundamental to the concept of due process. This process of incorporating parts of the Bill of Rights because of their connection to due process began to run in parallel with the selective incorporation doctrine, where parts of the Bill of Rights were ruled to be enforceable on the states by virtue of the 14th Amendments, whether or not due process applied.


http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_bor.html
*




Apparently both Professor Atkins and your website were unfamilar with findings made by the Supreme Court concerning capital punishment and the 14th amendment. In Gregg V Georgia (1976), we have the following.....

QUOTE
MR. JUSTICE STEWART, MR. JUSTICE POWELL, and MR. JUSTICE STEVENS concluded that:

(1) The punishment of death for the crime of murder does not, under all circumstances, violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 168-187.



In Jurek v. Texas(1976), we have the following.......

QUOTE
MR. JUSTICE STEWART, MR. JUSTICE POWELL, and MR. JUSTICE STEVENS concluded that:

1. The imposition of the death penalty is not per se cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Gregg, ante at 168-187. P. 268.

2. The Texas capital sentencing procedures do not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Texas' action in narrowing capital offenses to five categories in essence requires the jury to find the existence of a statutory aggravating circumstance before [p263] the death penalty may be imposed, thus requiring the sentencing authority to focus on the particularized nature of the crime. And, though the Texas statute does not explicitly speak of mitigating circumstances, it has been construed to embrace the jury's consideration of such circumstances. Thus, as in the cases of Gregg v. Georgia, ante p. 153, and Proffitt v. Florida, ante p. 242, the Texas capital sentencing procedure guides and focuses the jury's objective consideration of the particularized circumstances of the individual offense and the individual offender before it can impose a sentence of death. The Texas law has thus eliminated the arbitrariness and caprice of the system invalidated in Furman. Petitioner's contentions to the contrary are without substance. Pp. 268-276.



In Proffitt v. Florida (1976), we have the following......

QUOTE
MR. JUSTICE STEWART, MR. JUSTICE POWELL, and MR. JUSTICE STEVENS, concluded that:

1. The imposition of the death penalty is not per se cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Gregg, ante at 168-187. P. 247.

2. On its face, the Florida procedures for imposition of the death penalty satisfy the constitutional deficiencies identified in Furman, supra. Florida trial judges are given specific and detailed guidance to assist them in deciding whether to impose a death penalty or imprisonment for life, and their decisions are reviewed to ensure that they comport with other sentences imposed under similar circumstances. Petitioner's contentions that the new Florida procedures remain arbitrary and capricious lack merit. Pp. 251-259.

(a) The argument that the Florida system is constitutionally invalid because it allows discretion to be exercised at each stage of the criminal proceeding fundamentally misinterprets Furman. Gregg, ante at 199. P. 254. [p243]

(B(ee) - added to the original text to keep the smiley face out of it) The aggravating circumstances authorizing the death penalty if the crime is "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel," or if "[t]he defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to many persons," as construed by the Florida Supreme Court, provide adequate guidance to those involved in the sentencing process, and, as thus construed, are not overly broad. Pp. 255-256.




These are opinions of the court concerning the death penalty, not historians, not a professor, nor a website.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 04:36 PM)
These are opinions of the court concerning the death penalty, not historians, not a professor, nor a website.
*


Well Aquilla you are correct, those are in fact the court's opinions, from 29 years ago...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but back in 1976 when these cases were being decided the death penalty was generally understood to be for adults. I don't believe that anyone considered executing those under the age of 18. Furthermore I can't recall any incidents from that time period where we had minors committing the kinds of crimes they do today. You didn't have minors shooting people up in gang drive-bys, you didn't have kids spraying schools with automatic weapons, it just didn't happen back then.

Today, sadly, that is a reality and part of the job of the supreme court is to interpret the laws so that they remain relevant for today's society. In 1976 I doubt you would have found a single judge willing to consider the death penalty for a minor, today it happens with increasing frequency. Therefore, those opinions have to be reconsidered and new facts and situations have to be taken into account.

I'll get around to the other questions later, but your position assumes nothing has changed since 1976 when in fact a lot has changed. The legal opinions needed to be revisited and they were.
BoF
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 2 2005, 06:49 PM)
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 04:36 PM)
These are opinions of the court concerning the death penalty, not historians, not a professor, nor a website.
*


Well Aquilla you are correct, those are in fact the court's opinions, from 29 years ago...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but back in 1976 when these cases were being decided the death penalty was generally understood to be for adults. I don't believe that anyone considered executing those under the age of 18. Furthermore I can't recall any incidents from that time period where we had minors committing the kinds of crimes they do today. You didn't have minors shooting people up in gang drive-bys, you didn't have kids spraying schools with automatic weapons, it just didn't happen back then.

Today, sadly, that is a reality and part of the job of the supreme court is to interpret the laws so that they remain relevant for today's society. In 1976 I doubt you would have found a single judge willing to consider the death penalty for a minor, today it happens with increasing frequency. Therefore, those opinions have to be reconsidered and new facts and situations have to be taken into account.

I'll get around to the other questions later, but your position assumes nothing has changed since 1976 when in fact a lot has changed. The legal opinions needed to be revisited and they were.
*



I wouldn’t say that the cases Aquilla has listed are obsolete. But yesterday’s court ruling coupled with the strictures on executing mentally retarded people reflect, as the L. A. Times article suggests “the public’s doubts” fueled by exonerations driven by the magic letters DNA. I think yesterday's decision was more significant than the one concerning the mentally retaded. It's much easier to document someone's age than it is make a case for retardation perhaps years after the person left school.

Edited to add:

There is no point in trying to point out contradictions in the court's position. What the court decided yesterday is IT for now.


QUOTE
The high court's new ruling comes three years after it outlawed the death penalty for the mentally retarded. Both decisions were pointedly grounded in what the court describes as a changing national consensus on capital punishment. But, as with the headline-making exonerations, those decisions magnify as well as reflect the public's doubts. Add in many other obvious inequities — name a rich person awaiting execution, for one — and death row is increasingly revealed for what it is: a dumping ground for the poorest defendants with the lousiest lawyers rather than the most despicable killers.


http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editor...ment-editorials
Aquilla
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 2 2005, 04:49 PM)
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Mar 2 2005, 04:36 PM)
These are opinions of the court concerning the death penalty, not historians, not a professor, nor a website.
*


Well Aquilla you are correct, those are in fact the court's opinions, from 29 years ago...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but back in 1976 when these cases were being decided the death penalty was generally understood to be for adults. I don't believe that anyone considered executing those under the age of 18. Furthermore I can't recall any incidents from that time period where we had minors committing the kinds of crimes they do today. You didn't have minors shooting people up in gang drive-bys, you didn't have kids spraying schools with automatic weapons, it just didn't happen back then.

Today, sadly, that is a reality and part of the job of the supreme court is to interpret the laws so that they remain relevant for today's society. In 1976 I doubt you would have found a single judge willing to consider the death penalty for a minor, today it happens with increasing frequency. Therefore, those opinions have to be reconsidered and new facts and situations have to be taken into account.

I'll get around to the other questions later, but your position assumes nothing has changed since 1976 when in fact a lot has changed. The legal opinions needed to be revisited and they were.
*




One might assume that you might then support re-visiting such decisions as Roe V. Wade since they happened over 30 years ago? Didn't think so.....

This latest decision - ROPER V. SIMMONS cites a simlar case (Stanford v. Kentucky) from 1989. Recent enough? Maybe not, because in that case capitol punishment for persons under 18 was upheld.

From that decision.....

QUOTE
1. There is no relevance to the state laws cited by petitioners which set 18 or more as the legal age for engaging in various activities, ranging from driving to drinking alcoholic beverages to voting. Those laws operate in gross, and do not conduct individualized maturity tests for each driver, drinker, or voter; an age appropriate in the vast majority of cases must therefore be selected. In the realm of capital punishment, however, individualized consideration is a constitutional requirement. Twenty-nine States, including Kentucky and Missouri, have codified this requirement in laws specifically designating age as a mitigating factor that capital sentencers must be permitted to consider. Moreover, the determinations required by transfer statutes such as Kentucky's and Missouri's to certify a juvenile for trial as an adult ensure individualized consideration of the maturity and moral responsibility of 16- and 17-year-olds before they are even held to stand trial as adults. It is those particularized laws, rather than the generalized driving, drinking, and voting [p363] laws, that display society's views on the age at which no youthful offender should be held responsible. Pp. 374-377.



and....

QUOTE
In determining whether a punishment violates evolving standards of decency, this Court looks not to its own subjective conceptions, but, rather, to the conceptions of modern American society as reflected by objective evidence. E.g., Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, 592. The primary and most reliable evidence of national consensus -- the pattern of federal and state laws -- fails to meet petitioner's heavy burden of proving a settled consensus against the execution of 16- and 17-year-old offenders. Of the 37 States that permit capital punishment, 15 decline to impose it on 16-year-olds and 12 on 17-year-olds. This does not establish the degree of national agreement this Court has previously thought sufficient to label a punishment cruel and unusual. See Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137, 154. Pp. 370-373.


Yet in Roper v. Simmons, they say this.....

QUOTE
The evidence of national consensus against the death penalty for juveniles is similar, and in some respects parallel, to the evidence Atkins held sufficient to demonstrate a national consensus against the death penalty for the mentally retarded. When Atkins was decided, 30 States prohibited the death penalty for the mentally retarded. This number comprised 12 that had abandoned the death penalty altogether, and 18 that maintained it but excluded the mentally retarded from its reach. 536 U.S., at 313—315. By a similar calculation in this case, 30 States prohibit the juvenile death penalty, comprising 12 that have rejected the death penalty altogether and 18 that maintain it but, by express provision or judicial interpretation, exclude juveniles from its reach. See Appendix A, infra. Atkins emphasized that even in the 20 States without formal prohibition, the practice of executing the mentally retarded was infrequent. Since Penry, only five States had executed offenders known to have an IQ under 70. 536 U.S., at 316. In the present case, too, even in the 20 States without a formal prohibition on executing juveniles, the practice is infrequent. Since Stanford, six States have executed prisoners for crimes committed as juveniles. In the past 10 years, only three have done so: Okla-
homa, Texas, and Virginia.


Notice how the bar has changed in terms of "public attitude" as interpreted by the court. Suddenly states who don't have capital punishment at all are lumped into the "nobody under 18" category to move the percentages and establish a rationale for the court's decision. Perhaps under this rationale, the 12 states that don't have capital punishment should be ordered by the court to adopt it? Afterall, 38 states do.
hayleyanne
Stanford v. Kentucky (1989)
QUOTE
JUSTICE SCALIA announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III, and IV-A, and an opinion with respect to Parts IV-B and V, in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE WHITE, and JUSTICE KENNEDY join.


Having failed to establish a consensus against capital punishment for 16- and 17-year-old offenders through state and federal statutes and the behavior of prosecutors and juries, petitioners seek to demonstrate it through other indicia, including public opinion polls, the views of interest groups, and the positions adopted by various professional associations. We decline the invitation to rest constitutional law upon such uncertain foundations. A revised national consensus so broad, so clear, and so enduring as to justify a permanent prohibition upon all units of democratic government must appear in the operative acts (laws and the application of laws) that the people have approved.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getc...l=492&invol=361


The Court now finds a national consensus to exist where none existed just 15 short years ago when the Stanford case was decided. As Amlord so aptly pointed out, not much has changed in terms of the death penalty laws since then. A few less states no longer execute juveniles-- but this does not a "national consensus" make.

I guess the new batch of men and women in robes believe it is appropriate to rest constitutional law on public opinion polls; the views of interest groups; the positions adopted by various professional associations; and international law.
BoF
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Mar 2 2005, 07:33 PM)
Stanford v. Kentucky (1989)
QUOTE
JUSTICE SCALIA announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III, and IV-A, and an opinion with respect to Parts IV-B and V, in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE WHITE, and JUSTICE KENNEDY join.


Having failed to establish a consensus against capital punishment for 16- and 17-year-old offenders through state and federal statutes and the behavior of prosecutors and juries, petitioners seek to demonstrate it through other indicia, including public opinion polls, the views of interest groups, and the positions adopted by various professional associations. We decline the invitation to rest constitutional law upon such uncertain foundations. A revised national consensus so broad, so clear, and so enduring as to justify a permanent prohibition upon all units of democratic government must appear in the operative acts (laws and the application of laws) that the people have approved.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getc...l=492&invol=361


The Court now finds a national consensus to exist where none existed just 15 short years ago when the Stanford case was decided. As Amlord so aptly pointed out, not much has changed in terms of the death penalty laws since then. A few less states no longer execute juveniles-- but this does not a "national consensus" make.

I guess the new batch of men and women in robes believe it is appropriate to rest constitutional law on public opinion polls; the views of interest groups; the positions adopted by various professional associations; and international law.
*



It's good from a historical point to know what Scalia wrote in 1989. Scalia, however, was the dissent not the opinion in yesteday's decision. It seems the court overruled a precedent yesterday. For now Justice Kennedy's words are more important than Scalia's. "Let it be, yeah, let it be." smile.gif
Passion51
QUOTE
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Mar 2 2005, 10:57 AM)

When the states pass bad laws who will tell them if not the Supreme Court?  When the states do not provide evenhanded justice for all its citizens, who steps in to tell them they must?


Their job is to determine constitutionality, not to impose their version of good and bad.


QUOTE
If the states send innocent men and women to Death Row, where do they turn to if the Supreme Court says, "Sorry.  We don't want to step on the toes of the state."


Determining guilt or innocence is not their duty. Not even close.

QUOTE
Both Aquilla and Haleyanne have made crystal clear that they feel "five unelected old men and a woman" have overreached and imposed their own personal viewpoints over the right of the states to enact and enforce their own laws.  I disagree. 


So do I. There's only 4 old men and a woman.

QUOTE
What the Supreme Court has done is take us one step closer to ending the errors, discrimination, inequities and illogic in the application of the death penalty.


They didnt deal with any 'errors', they are discriminating, and there isn't much logic to 17 yrs 364 days old being exempt and 18 yrs old not.


QUOTE
Despite Scalia's petulant dissent, nobody is going to be set free due to the high court's ruling.  Young men will grow up and die as old men in prison including Christopher Simmons, the killer at the heart of this ruling.  He's not going to walk the streets breathing the air as a free man anytime in the near future.

If and when life sentences all mean life sentences you might have a valid point. Until then, no.

QUOTE
he United States likes to portray itself as the example for other nations to emulate, but until yesterday it was part of a handful of countries that put juveniles to death for their crimes.  According to Human Rights Watch, since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstituted in the United States, 22 child offenders have been executed. With the Supreme Court's decision, the juvenile death penalty remains in force in only five countries in the world-China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia has not executed a child offender since 1992 and the Congo has had a moratorium in effect since 2002.

Totally irrelevant. We're discussing US law.
QUOTE
There is a need for an ultimate penalty to be levied against the worst predators preying on society.  However, the death penalty is at best, seriously flawed and at worst, broken beyond repair.  As presently constructed, it does not work.  If there is to be a death penalty it has to be fixed and applied in a  more effective, less capricious manner.


As an aside, I am not in favor of the death penalty. I prefer solitary confinement for life with no chance of parole.
*


overlandsailor
QUOTE(Amlord @ Mar 2 2005, 03:19 PM)
This debate should be centered around one topic: is there a national consensus that the death penalty should not apply to minors?  Clearly, there is not.  38 states have the death penalty.  Of those, 20 allow murderers under the age of 18 to be executed (not including Missouri, whose Supreme Court ruled the practice un-Constitutional by state law).  That leaves 47% of states with death penalties opposed to the execution of minors.  Not a consensus.  Even if we expand it to all states, 18 out of 50 states allow minors to receive the death penalty.  38% of states' opinions should be discarded?
*



This is a wonderful example of how statistics can be used to say almost anything anyone wants them to say.

For example, 38 states have the Death Penalty, 20 allow the DP for those under 18. So, of the 50 States, only 20 allowed the DP for Juveniles prior to this ruling. In other words, execution of Juveniles was illegal in 60% of the States prior to this ruling. That is much higher then the "Consensus" claimed by the Republicans in regard to the recent election results.
droop224
Wow I would never figure this is a hot topic. But where to begin without repeating overland sailor word for word. Has anyone read his posts??

Simply put this shouldn't even be a partisan issue. Why is it only a big hoopla when the right is ticked off about a decision. I had this debate in a class not too long ago I figured out some a sad truth. Some of you do not really believe we are made up of 3 separate but equal branches of government.

What is the big deal here?

Is it prohibited for the government by the Constitution to administercruel and unusual punishment??

Yes or No

Is it within the power of the Supreme court to review whether a law violates the constitution and they find it does overrule that law.

Yes or No

Let's just cut through some of the "thick stuff" For some reason it seems(it always seems to be on the right), you all are against Judicial Review. It's about 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 old farts putting a stop to tyranny of the majority.

As OLS has said the supreme court has never had the last say. The last say is ALWAYS in the hands of the people through the legislative branch. So why keep writing like the Courts are telling you how to morally live? The last say is still the people's.
DaffyGrl
Just the latest cold-blooded "child" committing murder:
QUOTE
A 14-year-old boy was charged with shooting a school bus driver to death as she drove her morning route Wednesday. A relative of the driver said she had reported the boy a day earlier for using smokeless tobacco on the bus. CNN

QUOTE
Levi Jackson was 16 years old in December 1992 when he car jacked and murdered a woman. Martin Soto-Fong was 17 when he and two others walked in to the El Grande Market in 1992 and shot and killed three people. In 1999 Christopher Bo Huerstel was 17 when he and another man shot and killed three Pizza Hut employees. Source

From an uncle of a boy who shot and killed his father, his father’s fiancée and her two daughters.
QUOTE
Thomas Duke said his nephew, who he refers to as "idiot," and all his accomplices should be shot.

"To me, he is inhuman," Thomas Duke said during a phone interview from his Verbena home Tuesday. "Most humans are compassionate — they have feelings toward other human beings."

"I'd think no more of shooting him than I would a dog." Post Herald

The most frightening result of the SC ruling will be that some of these cold-blooded killers will be free when they are 40-something. Who thinks they will emerge from prison solid citizens? How horrible does the crime have to be before we stop considering the criminal a “child”? Was Mary Bell, a 10-year old Scots girl just a “child” when she strangled and stabbed a 3-year old boy, skinned his genitals and carved her initials in his stomach with a razor blade? She killed another boy when she was 11. (She was freed eventually and had a child of her own – how scary is that? blink.gif ) Are psycho- and sociopaths ever really “children”?

I believe there are people who are born evil. They can’t be rehabilitated, they are emotionless, worthless killing machines. Age doesn’t really factor into it. I think the crime should be tried on its merits, regardless of who committed the crime. If the death penalty does not apply, then they should be locked away forever with no chance of release into society. If that sounds cold-hearted, so be it. As far as I’m concern, their lack of respect for the lives of others removes any respect for their lives, regardless of their age.
BoF
QUOTE(DaffyGrl @ Mar 2 2005, 08:44 PM)
I believe there are people who are born evil. They can’t be rehabilitated, they are emotionless, worthless killing machines. Age doesn’t really factor into it. I think the crime should be tried on its merits, regardless of who committed the crime. If the death penalty does not apply, then they should be locked away forever with no chance of release into society. If that sounds cold-hearted, so be it. As far as I’m concern, their lack of respect for the lives of others removes any respect for their lives, regardless of their age.


Daffy,

I usually agree with you and even though I don't in this instance I can see where you are coming from.

Being eligible for parole does not mean someone will be paroled. Look how long Charles Manson has been in jail in California. He's eligible for parole--been having hearings for years, but his chance of ever seeing daylight is slim and none.

In Texas, the state this decision most impacts, we do not have a "life without parole" option. Those convicted of capital murder--who are not sentenced to death-- must serve 40 years to be eligible for parole. This does not mean they will get out after 40 years, only that the Board of Pardons and Paroles must consider it.

I have a friend who is a practicing criminal trial lawyer in Dallas. He says that the average life expectancy in a Texas prison is 17 years.

Although Texas doesn't have life without parole provision, it wouldn't surprise me to see the legislature pass one in the session now in progress. If they do, it will not impact those freed from the death penalty by yesterday's decision.
hayleyanne

QUOTE
Simply put this shouldn't even be a partisan issue.  Why is it only a big hoopla when the right is ticked off about a decision.  I had this debate in a class not too long ago I figured out some a sad truth.  Some of you do not really believe we are made up of 3 separate but equal branches of government. 


You got that right. Those supporting the decision believe that the judicial branch has the power to require certain legislation to be passed as a constitutional amendment. Not what the framers intended.

QUOTE
What is the big deal here?

Is it prohibited for the government by the Constitution to administercruel and unusual punishment??

Yes or No


Yes the government is prohibited from administering cruel and unusual punishment. The problem is that the Supremes specifically held that the juvenile death penalty was not cruel and unusual punishment 15 short years ago. Not much has changed since then except the subjective views of the judicial aristocracy.


QUOTE
Let's just cut through some of the "thick stuff"  For some reason it seems(it always seems to be on the right), you all are against Judicial Review.  It's about 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 old farts putting a stop to tyranny of the majority.


Conservatives are against judicial activism. That is when judges go beyond just interpreting the Constitution and instead impose their own subjective views on what is right and what is wrong.

QUOTE
As OLS has said the supreme court has never had the last say.  The last say is ALWAYS in the hands of the people through the legislative branch. So why keep writing like the Courts are telling you how to morally live?  The last say is still the people's.



OLS's point would be well taken if the judges were doing no more than interpreting the laws. But their judicial review has gone beyond that into the realm of policy making. The recent decision screams "policy making" because it is not moored in any real precedent. I have yet to hear a reasoned response as to how the national consensus on the juvenile death penalty has changed over the past 15 years, other than a response based on international law.
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