The News: March 2005 Archives

Behold your judicial masters


We've seen the Velvet Revolution in Eastern Europe bring down Communism. The Orange Revolution deposed the Russian-backed dictator of Ukraine. How about a bloodless Black Revolution, to depose our homegrown anti-democratic tyrants? You know, these guys:

Kennedy Stevens Souter

Ginsberg Breyer

They look like harmless people, but they have decided, without asking you, that the opinion of foreigners trumps the will of your state's legislature. (Not those hick Third World foreigners, naturally, but the suave elite foreigners of Western Europe.) For once, the Washington Post gets it right:

The Supreme Court abolished capital punishment for juvenile offenders yesterday, ruling 5 to 4 that it is unconstitutional to sentence anyone to death for a crime he or she committed while younger than 18.
They didn't "rule it was unconstitutional," they committed a positive act: "abolished." As in "the abolition of slavery," which was done through Congress and the state legislatures through amending the Constitution. These five unelected judges don't have to go to such arduous lengths to impose their will. With a few hands tapping on computer keyboards, and some shufflings of papers, the laws of 20 U.S. states were erased from the books.

Justice Scalia, as always the Court's best and most eloquent critic, rips the majority's decision:

Worse still, the Court says in so many words that what our people’s laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: "[I]n the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment"...The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation’s moral standards—and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures. Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent.
I wonder if the news reports are going to take notice of this biblical allusion from Justice Stevens:
...that our understanding of the Constitution does change from time to time has been settled since John Marshall breathed life into its text [emphasis added].
So the first Chief Justice was like God, breathing a soul into Adam? Is this man really comparing a human judge to the Almighty?

(Read the full text here. Stevens' opinion starts on page 42, and Scalia's starts on page 64.)

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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This page is an archive of entries in the The News category from March 2005.

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