What do Obama, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas have in common?
They all think child rape should be execution-worthy.
The SCOTUS came back today with a decision on Kennedy v. Louisiana, in which they rejected the state of Louisiana’s assertion that rape of a child under the age of 12 should be subject to the death penalty in a split 5-4 decision. Personally, I was pretty surprised. I thought it was going to be a split court, but I thought that they were going to come down on the side of the State.
In any event, I was equally surprised to read the following:
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he disagrees with a Supreme Court decision striking down the death penalty for child rapists, telling reporters Wednesday that states should be able to execute people for “heinous” crimes.
“I think that the rape of small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime,” the Illinois senator said. “And if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that does not violate our Constitution.”
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that capital punishment can be applied only to murderers, striking down a death sentence for a Louisiana man convicted of sexually assaulting his 8-year-old stepdaughter.
I do not think that you will find many people who disagree with the assertion that child rape is a particularly heinous crime, and is worthy of harsh punishment, but it seems to me that a lot of the political discourse surrounding this type of issue is jam-packed with straw men. Primarily, the mainstream attitude appears to be that if you are not for the most brutal, bloody, and violent vengeance that you can exact, then you support child rape. I would say that is why Obama came out against the SCOTUS decision, in that it is a politically prudent move even despite the sound legal foundation that the majority opinion was built upon. He wouldn’t want to come across as someone who thinks child rape is a good thing, now would he?