May 31, 2007

Death Sentence for Rape

Filed under: Capital Punishment,Politics,Supreme Court — acepundit @ 10:03 pm

Reports CNN:

Louisiana’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a man may be executed for raping an 8-year-old girl, and lawyers say his case may become the test for whether the nation’s highest court upholds the death penalty for someone who rapes a child.

In 1974, a gentlemanly bloke named Erlich Anthony Coker, who was serving a number of sentences for murder, rape, kidnapping, and assault, escaped from prison. During his short period of freedom he broke into a Georgia couple’s home, raped the woman and stole their car. For the rape charge the Georgia courts sentenced him to death.

In 1977 the Supreme Court by a vote of 7-2 overturned the “grossly disproportionate” sentence in Coker v. Georgia saying that the non-homicidal rape of an adult woman does not warrant our nation’s highest form of punishment.

This case involving the 8-year-old girl could give the current Supreme Court the opportunity to once again decide the applicability of capital punishment to rape. It’s possible that the court will overturn Coker entirely and allow the states to decide which crimes warrant the death penalty, but I believe if this case reaches the Supreme Court the justices will expand Coker to include rapes against minors.

Lately, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has most often aligned with the conservatives to form 5-4 majorities, the most recent being Tuesday’s Ledbetter decision that still has Ruth Bader Ginsburg fuming.

But Justice Kennedy is very leery when it comes to capital punishment and wound up siding with the liberals in two very big 5-4 decisions that barred the use of capital punishment on minors and the mentally retarded. I would not be surprised if we saw another 5-4 decision with him joining the liberals barring capital punishment on offenders guilty of non-homicidal rape.

As an opponent of capital punishment I don’t like the idea of capital punishment being expanded to include lesser crimes, and to avoid calling rape a “lesser crime” I’ll say I’d hate to see it applied to, say, armed robbery. Or grand theft auto. Or tax fraud.

But nevertheless capital punishment is a debate for the states to have. The Constitution clearly invites the use of the death penalty via the Fifth Amendment so let the states decide how it should be used.


May 30, 2007

Justice Ginsburg’s Visible Temper

Filed under: Politics,Supreme Court — acepundit @ 10:52 pm

Oh how Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg longs for the days when she wasn’t the sole female on the Supreme Court. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whom often voted with the liberal justices on sharply divided issues involving women, was replaced last year by Samuel Alito. Since his short time on the Supreme bench he has reliably given the conservatives the 5-4 victory on the issues that used to go the other way.

Yesterday the Supreme Court announced their opinion in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., making it harder for workers to sue their employers for discrimination in pay. The opinion was authored by Alito and joined by the four other conservative justices.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that an individual wishing to challenge an employment practice file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days “after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred,” otherwise the challenge cannot be brought to court.

Yesterday’s decision was about a Goodyear Tire plant supervisor who was the only woman among 16 men at the same management level, but received significantly less pay throughout her 20-year career. Unfortunately for Lilly Ledbetter, she waited too long to make the complaint.

Justice Ginsburg wrote a blistering dissent that joined by her three liberal colleagues, and took the unusual step that angry dissenters sometimes take and read it from the bench. When it was her turn to speak, she called on Congress to “correct this Court’s parsimonious reading of Title VII.”

Some conservatives are angry that Ginsburg displayed her frustration by telling Congress how she believes laws should be written, but to me it illustrates the proper role of federal judges. The conservatives were right in this case and interpreted Title VII correctly, however “parsimonious” it may be.

Sure enough, Senator Clinton has announced that she will introduce legislation to correct Title VII. And that’s how it should work. Unlike Justice Ginsburg, Senator Clinton was elected by the people and can be held accountable for her votes. She has the power to write laws, Ginsburg doesn’t.

This case is one of many highlighting the importance of Alito’s ascension to the Supreme Court and why conservative interpretation of the Constitution is better than a liberal one. We (at least I) don’t always like a 5-4 ruling authored by the right, but at least Congress has an avenue to correct it. When liberals win (by being joined by moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy) the rulings are often final because activist interpretations change the meaning of the Constitution which can’t be remedied by Congressional legislation.

Abortion Clinic Silence

Filed under: Abortion,Politics — acepundit @ 8:57 pm

LifeNews has this story on a Connecticut abortion facility employee who sexually abused three teenage girls. What’s notable about the story isn’t the part about an adult molesting underage girls, but the disturbing trend of abortion clinics keeping quiet about girls who come for abortions accompanied by their rapists.

Michael Britt, a former model agency owner who worked as a janitor at the abortion center, allegedly abused girls aged 18, 17 and 14 in March and April 2005 after they signed up to become models thinking they had to have intercourse with him to find work. Some of the girls were taken to the abortion facility after being knocked up.

But here’s the gem (bold emphasis added):

The Britt case follows just weeks after another abortion-sexual abuse case prompted observers to wonder why abortion facilities are not contacting authorities about the actions.

Kevon Walker, 22, was charged earlier this month with getting his then 14 year-old girlfriend pregnant. He got the unnamed girl pregnant three times in six months and the girl wound up having three abortions as a result.

It’s obvious by now we can’t depend on abortion facilities to report statutory rape cases as required by law, especially after the undercover video investigation by a UCLA college student that showed how willing Planned Parenthood was to violate the law so a 15-year-old girl could get rid of the evidence seeded in her by a 23-year-old man.

But seriously, three abortions in one year? So much for the “rare” part in Bill Clinton’s message of “safe, legal and rare.”

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.

Gee You think?

Filed under: Politics,Republicans,War — acepundit @ 8:18 pm

National Review’s Rich Lowry had to talk to an insider to get it:

Was talking to an influential Republican strategist who thinks if Iraq looks the way it does now in September, Bush will lose about 25 Senate Republicans on a bill with some sort of timetable for withdrawal.

I would guess, and of course I’m no bedfellow with the Senate Republicans, that more than 25 senators would realize a timetable is necessary if we’re still seeing monthly death toll records four months from now and 54 months after the war began in March of 2003.

Getting comfortable

Filed under: Uncategorized — acepundit @ 1:40 am

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