Louisiana Files for Rehearing in Kennedy v. Louisiana

It would take a majority vote for the Supreme Court to reconsider the case which blatantly misconstrued public opinion about the death penalty for child rapists and which failed to discover a federal law imposing such a penalty. It is extremely rare for the Court to do so. Louisiana’s petition is here (PDF).

We discussed the likelihood of a rehearing a few weeks ago. I continue to believe that the justices need to grant this petition—even if they know they’re going to come to the same decision—if only to straighten out the horrendous reasoning in the majority opinion. Justice Kennedy’s claims about “national consensus” and “the Court’s own judgment” make a farce out of our entire system of justice. Even if he’s too set in his thinking to overturn such ridiculous Eighth Amendment standards, certainly he can do a more credible job supporting his conclusions.

Since the case was handed down, there have been a few public opinion polls on the subject. This one is noteworthy because it shows majority public support for a harsher penalty than the one the Court invalidated.

The Supreme Court has recently ruled that a mandatory death penalty for child rape is unconstitutional. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of child rape?

Favor: 55 percent
Oppose: 38 percent
DK/NO: 7 percent

I would have preferred that they have stated the law correctly (hint: no crimes are punishable by mandatory death sentences in this country and Louisiana’s statute sure didn’t create one), but it is telling that even with the overstatement a clear majority support the death penalty for child rape. If you’re interested, the poll also has numbers on same-sex marriage, abortion, the Supreme Court in general, and Chief Justice Roberts in particular.

~ by Gabriel Malor on July 21, 2008.

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