Wednesday, June 25, 2008

<i>Kennedy v. Louisiana</i>

The Supreme Court (Kennedy v. Louisiana) has ruled 5-4 that it is cruel and unusual to impose the death penalty when the crime does not involve a death. The case before it was based on the appeal of a 43 year old man named Patrick Kennedy who raped his 8 year-old step-daughter. The liberals on the court ruled that raping a child is not a sufficient evil to warrant taking the rapist's life. According to Anthony Kennedy, whose decisions seem to be growing increasingly difficult to understand, the death penalty is not proportional punishment for the rape of a child.

The logic mystifies me. The five liberal Justices ruled that only if someone is killed is the crime heinous enough to merit the death penalty. Simply destroying someone's life in other ways doesn't. They believe, incredibly, that it would be either cruel and/or unusual to execute a man who wrecked a little girl's life by, say, torturing her, sexually mutilating her, dismembering her, repeatedly sodomizing her, and ultimately paralyzing her if in the end he didn't kill her.

How it could be either cruel or unusual to execute such a monster escapes me, but then I'm not very enlightened concerning the arcana of liberal thinking, I guess. I wonder how the five Justices in the majority would have ruled had their own eight year old daughters ever been subjected to such treatment.

This is why the choice of who we vote for in November is so important. A President McCain may wind up appointing more liberals to the Supreme Court, especially given the Democratic control of the Senate which must confirm his appointments, but a president Obama certainly would. In other words, if Obama is elected we're sure to get a lot more decisions like Kennedy v. Louisiana.

I wish someone in one of the debates coming up would ask the candidates whether they agree with the Court's ruling that enemy combatants captured on the battlefield should be given the same rights as American citizens and the ruling that child rapists aren't really doing enough harm to warrant being put to death. I think I know what McCain would say, but I think Obama would start his familiar tap dance around the question until he had managed to give every possible answer to it.

UPDATE: Senator Obama was indeed asked whether he agrees with the decision and replied that he disagreed with it and endorsed capital punishment in cases such as that of child rape. I applaud him for this but have a couple of questions: Is it not true that he would appoint judges who ruled as did the majority in Kennedy? Will his support on the far left be bummed by his claim to favor capital punishment in at least some cases? Would he have given this same answer were he not running for president? Given his history of standing on both sides of an issue one can't be sure. The best way to tell is to ask him to name a Supreme Court Justice present or past who best models the type of Justice he'd be likely to appoint to the Court.

HT: Hot Air.


The Inconstant Candidate

The other day we noted that Senator Obama reversed his position on FISA and public financing of his campaign. These switches in position come in the wake of numerous others. Here's a partial list of Obama's recent tergiversations:

  • Within a couple of weeks of saying that he could no more disown Rev. Wright than he could disown a member of his own family, he essentially disowned him.
  • When speaking to a meeting of American Jews a couple of weeks back, he told them he supports Israeli control of Jerusalem. The next day, trying to placate angry Arab supporters, Obama said "negotiators" should work out the contentious Jerusalem issue.
  • He criticized Hillary Clinton for months for voting to list Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Days after Clinton conceded, Obama flipped and said he himself supported the designation.
  • Obama repeatedly vowed to meet with various heads of terror states-most notably Ahmadinejad of Iran-"without preconditions." Then he changed his mind: "There's no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad. He's not the most powerful person in Iran."
  • In October, he supported NAFTA expansion. In March, campaigning in the Ohio primary, he called for a "reopening" of the trade pact's terms. This week, he called his own primary rhetoric "overheated" and said NAFTA has had a positive effect on the US economy.
  • After signaling opposition to nuclear power, he told Democratic governors he's open to expanding it.
  • He gave every indication that as president he would start withdrawing troops from Iraq immediately upon taking office but has lately proposed a more gradual withdrawal based on conditions on the ground.

The man is as hard to pin down as Osama bin Laden. Just when you think you know where he stands he turns up somewhere else. Is this the new politics his admirers in the media are swooning over?


Confused Atheists

The Pew Foundation survey on religion in America turns up some interesting statistics:

Consider this stunner: 21% of atheists and 55% of agnostics say they believe in God. Eight percent of atheists and 17% of agnostics are even certain that God exists. What's up with that? What's more, 10% of atheists and 18% of agnostics pray at least once a week.

I never suspected our local atheist club of opening their meetings with prayer, but maybe they hold hands in a circle, bow their heads, and ask God to bless their proceedings during which they'll all explain to each other why they don't believe he exists.

It could be that the atheists who identify themselves as believers are the non-believers' version of religious liberals. If very liberal protestants are almost atheists, perhaps very liberal atheists are almost protestants.

Anyway, 99% of evangelical protestants and 97% of Catholics say they believe in God, but that means that 1% and 3% respectively do not. Why would an atheist identify him or herself as an evangelical or a Catholic?

There's more: Among atheists 12% believe there's a heaven and 10% believe there's a hell which causes me to ask which they think they're going to inhabit and who's going to see that they get there.

Fifty seven percent of people who belong to evangelical churches believe that other religions can lead to eternal life, and, among evangelicals, 86% believe in heaven. So what's the Good News for the other 14% of evangelicals who don't believe in heaven?

The more someone attends church the more they are likely to be politically conservative and the less they attend church the more likely they are to be liberal. That's not surprising, but this was:

Sixty one percent of evangelicals think abortion should be illegal in almost all cases, but only 45% of Catholics do. Sixty four percent of evangelicals believe homosexuality should be discouraged, but only 30% of Catholics do. Who'd have thought that a minority of Catholics oppose abortion?

There's much more on the results of this fascinating, if rather counterintuitive, survey here.



Ever wonder why people hold lawyers in such low esteem? Here's a video of a trial lawyer/ state representative speaking on the floor of the Massachusetts State House against mandatory sentences for child rapists.

It makes one wonder who's worse, the molester who rapes the child or the lawyer who wrecks the child's life to get the rapist off. I wonder, too, who's more embarrassed by this video, the man's fellow lawyers or his fellow politicians.