A familiar chorus of five US Supreme Court justices found today that the state of Louisiana was woefully out of step with the rest of us by permitting juries to impose the death penalty upon those who would rape young children. I actually happen to agree with the majority, not merely because I believe that the ultimate sanction ought to be reserved for the ultimate crime – and child rape, while unspeakably horrendous, falls just short of that standard – but also because I believe that a more suitable punishment for child molesters is to consign them to the warm and lifetime embrace of their comrades in the prison system. Gen-pop style.
Unlike the SCOTUS majority however, I’m unable to impose my personal beliefs upon the people of Louisiana and their democratically elected legislature. No matter how more fully evolved I believe myself to be. All of their votes count more than mine. Because I am not a Supreme Court justice.
Which is a damned good thing for the rest of you, because once I started peering into the Constitution and discovering unenumerated rights that conformed to my personal preferences, you’d all be in for a hell of a time. Not to mention the trick of vaulting over those pesky 10th Amendment limits to federal power.
Lucky thing for you that I’m not a Supreme Court justice. Too bad for the people of Louisiana – and any children whose innocence might otherwise have been spared – that Anthony Kennedy is.
Politicians come and go. Supreme Court precedence lasts (nearly) forever.