Skip to comments.Alito's First Ruling Isn't Encouraging (Soutered again?)
Posted on 02/03/2006 1:05:52 PM PST by FerdieMurphy
Imagine yourself in the stands at the Kentucky Derby. A new horse by the name of President's Choice, a strong thoroughbred that racing aficionados have been talking about, is favored to win. "And they're off!"
Now imagine everyone's shock when the gates fly open and the odds-on favorite starts running the wrong way. We saw something similar last night.
Samuel Alito, the "conservative" judicial nominee over whom all good little Republicans were drooling, cast his first vote as the nation's newest black-robed oligarch. This morning's edition of the Washington Post reported: "New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito split with the court's conservatives Wednesday night, refusing to let Missouri execute a death-row inmate contesting lethal injection.
"Alito, handling his first case, sided with inmate Michael Taylor, who had won a stay from an appeals court earlier in the evening. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported lifting the stay, but Alito joined the remaining five members in turning down Missouri's last-minute request to allow a midnight execution. ..."
Is this what "conservatives" were hoping for when President Bush nominated Alito to the Supreme Court? I doubt it. But perhaps I'm rushing to judgment (pardon the pun). Who is this Michael Taylor anyway? As a Jan. 27 article in the Columbia Missourian explains, Taylor was "sentenced to death after being convicted of the rape and murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison on March 22, 1989."
Okay, so the defense must have discovered some new DNA evidence that casts a reasonable doubt on Taylor's guilt, right? Not really. The article continues: "A federal judge last week issued a stay of Taylor's Feb. 1 execution in response to his lawyer's request for a hearing to present evidence challenging the lethal injection process. Taylor's lawyer, John William Simon of St. Louis, has since filed a federal court action arguing that the three drugs the state uses in executions create a risk of gratuitous pain that is not necessary to carry out "the mere extinguishment of life."
Let's see if I understand this. The case before the Supreme Court yesterday had nothing to do with using the normal appeals process to examine new evidence that had come to light. In fact, it had nothing at all to do with determining Taylor's guilt or innocence. It was all about the method of execution? Was Taylor's lawyer able to interview death row inmates who had been executed by lethal injection to see what they had to say?
Michael Taylor has already spent the last 17 years living on taxpayer expense. That's two years longer than the girl he kidnapped, raped and killed had her entire life. Now, the Supreme Court of the United States wants to stand in the way of justice simply because the drugs used to carry out an execution may not provide the condemned murderer with the comfort he expects when paying the price for his brutal crime.
I find this rather odd. When this country was young, no one questioned the constitutionality of death by hanging or firing squad. But now, in the 21st century, we find ourselves debating whether or not the act of sedating murderers before executing them is cruel and unusual punishment.
At the very least, that should be left for the states to decide. After all, not every state has the death penalty, so there is obviously still some consideration given to the concept of states' rights. I think it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that if individual states are able to decide whether or not they will implement capital punishment, then they should be allowed to determine the means of execution.
The fact that Samuel Alito chose to side with the liberals on the Court in a ruling that tramples on states' rights is cause for concern. Those who threw their enthusiastic support behind George W. Bush's nominee may wake up one morning to find that they have been duped yet again, and the nation's highest court has another Souter on its hands.
This has widely been debunked as misreporting.
Laura Ingraham had a good bit on it
Alito during confirmation process said in a death penalty case if 4 others desented he'd desent too as a matter of judical courtasy.
I RESPECT a MAN of his word.
Yes. This is also exactly what he said he would do during his Senate confirmation testimony.
Ah Ah ah don't try to spread reason now -- we are doomed, DOOmed, DOOMED!!!!!!!!
No one should start freaking out. If you were an incoming Justice and faced with a Death Penalty case on your first day wouldn't you tend to be cautious intill you are better settled and have chance to review everthing in the case.
While he may be a man of his word, it's hardly a proper way to interpret a matter of constitutional law. Head count and I'll vote.
Bump. The problems I have with Alito are the same problems I have with Roberts. Both big government conservatives. Thomas is the only originalist on the Court currently
Climb down off the ledge, Lee. Alito said in his hearings that he favored review of death penalty cases, and even said that he would provide the fifth vote as a matter of judicial courtesy if that situation were to arise. He's doing what he said he'd do.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.....I just love to say it.
Taylor's lawyer, John William Simon of St. Louis, has since filed a federal court action arguing that the three drugs the state uses in executions create a risk of gratuitous pain that is not necessary to carry out "the mere extinguishment of life."
Fine hammer him with a couple of grams of heroin and let him enjoy the ride...
Agreed. This sounds like people trying to blow their own horn. The facts are this there often aspects of law that make it up to the Courts. Often Circuits split etc. Alito perhaps saw an issue that has been brewing in the lower courts and thought it should be addresses thats all.For goodness sake listening to a Death Penalty issue does not mean that Federalism is dead
Since the Constitution expressly forbids "cruel and unusual punishment," this is a good case for the SCOTUS to consider. It's a pure Constitutional issue.
Since the Constitution does not specify what is and is not "cruel and unusual," the SCOTUS is the body to decide this.
Alito is acting according to his beliefs that the court should not engage in activism. Constitutional issues are the very thing the SCOTUS is for.
Perhaps we gloated prematurely. Feels like we got semi-boiled egg on our faces after all the crowing we did on Tuesday! I hope I'm completely WRONG...:(
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