Thursday, June 26, 2008

Classic Case of Judicial Overreaching

The U.S. Supreme Court said Louisiana can't give the death penalty to those who rape children. This is what happens when judges get off track and act as super-legislators.

Remember, I am against the death penalty. But I am for the rule of law. I'm for majority rule. I'm for public policy being made by elected legislators, or by the people at the ballot -- not by judges.

Here's the Eighth Amendment: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

The problem developed about a century ago when the court started deciding whether punishments were "excessive." Look again at the amendment. The Constitution charges the court with evaluating excessiveness on financial penalties, but not on methods of punishment. Where methods of punishment are concerned, the court is charged with deciding whether they are cruel and unusual.

The court has no business deciding whether a punishment is excessive for the crime committed. The court only has authority to decide whether the method of punishment is unacceptable.

In the Louisiana case, the court had no business deciding where the death penalty is appropriate for raping a child. The Constitution is silent in that issue. The court's jurisdiction comes into play when the method of execution is challenged.

In a recent Nebraska case, the Nebraska Supreme Court noted that it was not throwing out the death penalty, but rather throwing out electrocution as the method of execution.

The good news is that this helps keep my McCain Derangement Syndrome in remission. This case is an example of why I want supreme court justices nominated by John McCain rather than Barack Obama.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

The current series of 5-4 decisions by the Supreme Court serve to highlight the real and immediate need to amend the constitution to remove lifetime federal appointments for all federal judges and replace that with mandatory retirement at age 65. That amendment should also include a strict requirement that only US law can be used as a consideration in deciding cases. There should also be a provision that if a law is enacted by a super-majority of the legislative body that it is immune from constitutional review by any court.