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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kennedy Strikes Down Louisiana Child Rape Statute

Today, the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana's death penalty for child rape statute in the case of Kennedy v. Louisiana (a fitting name for the case). The decision was 5-4, with Kennedy writing the majority opinion and Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer joining. The dissent was written by Alito, with Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas joining. The opinion is here.

Regardless of what you think about the morality or prudence of death penalty for child rapists, Kennedy's opinion is pathetic. It has no sound legal basis and rests entirely on Kennedy et al.'s personal views of what are "evolving standards of decency." Alito completely demolishes Kennedy in the dissent (though in a very restrained and respectful manner). Alito even points out that Kennedy's evidence of "evolving standards" aren't tending towards abolishment of the death penalty for child rape, but may be tending in the opposite direction.

Yes, Kennedy is, by far, my least favorite justice.