Supreme Arrogance: In One of Its Rulings, the Supreme Court Has Once Again Stepped beyond Its Legal Bounds, Ending Capital Punishment for People under 18 Years Old. Adding Insult to Injury, the Court Explicitly Cited Foreign Sources in the Main Text of Its Decision
Eddlem, Thomas R., The New American
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is known for using some acerbic terms in his opinions, but his dissent in the 5-4 decision Roper v. Simmons, which purported to declare that the death penalty for anyone under 18 years of age is "unconstitutional," took the cake. In the course of saying that the majority opinion had "no foundation in law or reason," Scalia used terms such as "mockery," "usurpation," "diktat," and "sophistry." For the usually reserved language in court decisions, this was the Supreme Court equivalent of Scalia throwing his chair at the other justices.
What caused such a furor? At the bottom of the majority decision in Roper v. Simmons was the claim that the execution of anyone who had not reached his 18th birthday constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (as "incorporated" on the states by the 14th Amendment). Though the court had explicitly ruled in the 1989 case Stanford v. Kentucky that the execution of 16- and 17-year-olds was not "cruel and unusual punishment," the five majority justices arrived at the opposite conclusion on the basis of examining …
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Publication information: Article title: Supreme Arrogance: In One of Its Rulings, the Supreme Court Has Once Again Stepped beyond Its Legal Bounds, Ending Capital Punishment for People under 18 Years Old. Adding Insult to Injury, the Court Explicitly Cited Foreign Sources in the Main Text of Its Decision. Contributors: Eddlem, Thomas R. - Author. Magazine title: The New American. Volume: 21. Issue: 7 Publication date: April 4, 2005. Page number: 30+. © 2009 American Opinion Publishing, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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