As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 declaring executions of those under 18 unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, had this juicy little tidbit:
“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.” (emphasis mine)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I know that international opinion is not in the Constitution, so obviously Kennedy’s opinion had to cite the Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment. Somehow, regardless of malicious intent of a capital crime, it is cruel to execute someone just because that person is under 18. Not only is the majority opinion logically flawed, but it also usurps states’ rights to administer their capital punishment laws similar to how the ruling was made last year to disallow executions of the mentally retarded. As Justice Antonin Scalia points out:
“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.’ The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation’s moral standards.”
When it comes time for President Bush to nominate new Supreme Court justices, I hope the people will rally to the support of those who will strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution and let no foreign influence sway their decision-making. The Supreme Court was established to rule on U.S. law, and it is quite improper to rule on it based on precedents set outside the United States. Justice Kennedy and those who agree with him should be removed, but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.