Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tyranny of the judiciary

Once again, a bare majority is enough for the top judiciary to override state laws. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty cannot be applied to those under 18, declaring it a violation of the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibition.

What rubbish! Naturally, Amnesty International and similar organizations cheered. Jimmy Carter had filed an amicus curiae supporting the notion that being under 18 makes you too young to be executed. His response to the Court's ruling said there's "profound inconsistency in prohibiting those under 18 years of age from voting, serving in the military or buying cigarettes" yet keeping them eligible for capital punishment.

That logic is flawed. The law says the teen may not purchase cigarettes, but the teen still can violate the law. The law also says the teen may not commit murder, which the teen still can do -- the law can only deter and punish, not hinder. How about the obvious: a teen doesn't commit capital murder, and he won't have to worry about being executed?

Then again, teenage psychopaths have nothing to worry about when they have the protection of the Supreme Court. It's too bad there were no arguments to be made, no briefs to be filed to defend the victims as they were being murdered. What completely galled me was the 17-year-old who "kidnapped a neighbor, hog-tied her and threw her off a bridge" -- who can argue he didn't know what he was doing, especially when he "bragged that he could get away with it because of his age"?

Deacon at Powerline had a good point:
In my view, the reliance of foreign law and practice is a symptom of the Court's problem, not the problem itself. The Court has appropriated from the American people the role of social arbiter. Thus, it strikes down longstanding policies and practices adopted through the democratic process on the grounds that five or more Justices personally don't approve. This creates a question of legitimacy which causes the Justices to scrounge for support.
I really fear that the next step is the Supreme Court ruling against homeowners in Kelo v. City of New London. The article says a ruling is expected by June. If the Supreme Court rules that a state can force you to sell your land to private individuals, under the guise of the Fifth Amendment's "eminent domain" clause, we'll know the Bill of Rights is finally dead.

Let's do a Bill of Rights checkup.

First Amendment: Critically wounded
Second Amendment: Critically wounded
Third Amendment: Healthy but will die once the Second Amendment does
Fourth Amendment: Nearly dead (certain parts of the Patriot Act are just too dangerous)
Fifth Amendment: Severely wounded; could die in June, depending on Kelo
Sixth Amendment: Healthy
Seventh Amendment: Healthy
Eighth Amendment: Severely wounded as of March 1st, 2005
Ninth Amendment: Long dead
Tenth Amendment: Are you kidding me? It's long dead too.


Blogger Brad Warbiany said...

I completely agree. Our judiciary has, as our founding fathers were afraid may occur, overstepped their bounds. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the watchdog that reins in the rest of the government for overstepping the bounds of the Constitution. But they have abdicated their posts.

The real question is how to fix it. I don't think that we are really going to see a return to strict constructionists, even with Bush in office. The only way that I can see to rein in the Supreme Court is by amending the Constitution. But what such an amendment would say, I do not yet know.

BTW I found you through Quincy's blog. I've also blogrolled you at The Unrepentant Individual. Welcome, and good luck!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 6:35:00 PM  

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