Skip to comments.U.S. Constitution: Made in Jamaica?
Posted on 03/18/2005 4:57:53 AM PST by LowCountryJoe
When you want something changed in our country -- when you want a law passed or overturned -- you call Congress. Soon, however, there may be no point. Instead, calls may need to be directed to the most powerful branch of government, the law-making body known as the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month in Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court reached out and gave America a good old-fashioned smack-upside-the-head when it abolished capital punishment for juvenile offenders. Ruling 5 to 4, the Court declared that it is unconstitutional to sentence anyone to death for a crime he or she committed while younger than 18.
A valid decision, you say? It may well be, but the Court's reasoning for getting there was anything but.
The Court declared that the death penalty was now unconstitutional for minors due to a supposed "emerging national consensus" that the death penalty was wrong.
The last time we checked, the Supreme Court was supposed to use the Constitution as its guide. If anyone's to take notice of an "emerging national consensus," it's the legislature.
So with one decision, a narrow majority of five activist justices turned legislative and imposed their personal social preference on every American voter, state legislator, congressman, and juror.
But don't despair -- the Court didn't rely solely on their supposed national consensus to make their decision. Those five justices also looked farther afield -- literally -- and relied on foreign laws and international opinion in order to rationalize overturning more than 200 years of U.S. law and history.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared, "Our determination finds confirmation in the stark reality that the United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile death penalty."
This is quite contrary to what Kennedy said in a 1989 ruling when he rejected "the contention that the sentencing practices of other countries are relevant."
In that 1989 case, Stanford vs. Kentucky, Kennedy joined Justice Antonin Scalia in declaring, "We emphatically reject petitioner's suggestion that the issues in this case permit us to apply our 'own informed judgment' regarding the desirability of permitting the death penalty for crimes by 16- and 17-year-olds."
My, how things have changed. Apparently, when Justice Kennedy changes his mind, the Constitution changes with him.
Unfortunately, Kennedy's not the only justice looking outside the Constitution for justification of his own opinions.
In a 2003 speech, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg openly expressed her hope that America would discard its "Lone Ranger" attitude in interpreting our Consititution.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor predicted that we "will find ourselves looking more frequently to the decisions of other constitutional courts."
And Justice Stephen Breyer hits the homerun for the foreign Constitution team. He's invoked the rulings of the supreme courts of Zimbabwe and India and the Privy Council of Jamaica to support his rulings.
We're big fans of free markets and free trade across a global marketplace but wed still like our laws and our Constitution to be "made in America."
If this keeps up, we'll soon be recommending that you direct your calls to the Supreme Court instead of Congress. And letter-writing campaigns? The Privy Council of Jamaica seems as good a place as any.
They forgot to look at Jamaica when they struck down the Texas sodomy law; homosexual acts are still illegal there.
I'm not in favour of banning gay sex myself, but what's sauce for the goose...
I just found out the other day that the assassins of Arch Duke Ferdinand were all under 21, and selected as such because they could not get the death penalty as a minor.
We are no longer self governing. Why bother with elections or legislatures when the philosopher-kings make law?
This situation in not likely to change. The 'rat agenda depends on the courts while the GOP is afraid of it's shadow. I like to think that earlier in our history we the people would have taken up the matter with violence against the usurpers of our liberties.
That can mean anything to anyone. Time to retire, judge.
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