Monday, April 04, 2005

Excellent Opinion Column

I highly recommend to all William Kristol's excellent article entitled "Evolving Standards of Decency". In this scathing essay Kristol mocks the collective American judiciary for striking down Christopher Simmons' death sentence while wilfully refusing to lift a finger to save innocent Terri Schiavo. It's devastating stuff.

For those of you not aware of Roper v. Simmons, it's the case wherein the Supreme Court struck down the death sentence for minors. In 1993, Christopher Simmons of Missouri, just 17, thought it would be fun to kill someone. He told his friends they would get away with it because they were juveniles. Simmons broke into the home of Shirley Crook, kidnapped her, bound her hands and feet, put tape over her face and threw her off a bridge into the Meramec River where she drowned. Simmons was sentenced to death for his monstruous crime.

The Supreme Court cited the "evolving standards of decency" to declare the execution of minors unconstitutional. Now, I don't recall reading that the justices should rely on "evolving standards of decency" for determining the constitutionality of statutes anywhere in the Constitution. Maybe I missed it. Must be somewhere in the same "penumbras" where the right to privacy lives.

Worse was the justices' reliance on "international opinion" to justify their decision. Nowhere in American jurisprudence does it state that the United States must adhere to the judicial norms of other countries. Justice Kennedy, a profoundly disappointing Reagan appointee, cited the laws of such law-and-order luminaries as Jamaica - and, as Dave Barry says, "I'm not making this up" - Zimbabwe to justify the Court's decision in his opinion for the majority.

All that's necessary to rebut such razor-sharp legal reasoning is to cite the precedent handed down by your parents time and time again:

"If Jamaica and Zimbabwe jumped off a bridge, would you?"

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