Supreme Court Made Supreme Error in Child Rape Decision
A WaPo editorial takes the Supreme Court to task for a significant error in a recent decision:
There was quite a goof in the court’s 5 to 4 decision on June 25 banning the death penalty for those who rape children. The majority determined that capital punishment for child rape was unconstitutional, in part because a national consensus had formed against it. As evidence, the court noted that “37 jurisdictions — 36 States plus the Federal Government — have the death penalty. [But] only six of those jurisdictions authorize the death penalty for rape of a child.” Actually, only two years ago, Congress enacted a death penalty for soldiers who commit child rape, as part of an update to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Irony of ironies: The court has cast doubt on the constitutionality of an act of Congress based on the erroneous claim that the statute did not exist.
This presumes, however, that the decision was made based on the grounds stated, rather than the stated facts serving as a post hoc rationale for a decision already arrived at.
Photo credit: Margot Schulman/AP via Guardian blog