Supreme Court Inserts Itself Into The Fall Election

It's no secret that conservative Republicans, and even many moderates and independent voters, are not thrilled about John McCain being the GOP Presidential nominee. For some, this election will ultimately boil down to the old "lesser of two evils" argument. For many of those, the defining factors include national security during a time of war, tax and economic policies, and judges. Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed one of those issues to John McCain.

In a truly absurd ruling, again written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Kennedy v. Louisiana that the death penalty for child rapists is unconstitutional. While reasonable people can debate this issue -- and debate the issue of capital punishment in general - the arguments made by the majority in their ruling have no basis in anything granted by the Constitution that I know of -- Kennedy's "disproportionate" argument used as derived from the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause in the Eighth Amendment is something that was invented by Justice Brennen in Furman v. Georgia.

The question of capital punishment in general is a legitimate Supreme Court issue -- either it's constitutional or not. And the Supreme Court has ruled that it is. Anything else is on dangerous ground and can be seen as the Supreme Court micromanaging -- usurping the role that the states and legislative bodies have in crafting their own laws and punishments. And it is those legislative bodies that are supposed to be the ones that 'evolve' their laws due to changing social norms and acceptabilities, not Justices like Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. That Kennedy was forced to use as a rational the supposed "national consensus" against death for a child rapist gives you an idea as to just how specious and empty his arguments are. If anything, the "national consensus" is for putting child rapists to death, and again - it's the legislative branch that is supposed to deal with issues of "national consensus", not the courts.

As an indication as to just how problematic this ruling is, both John McCain and Barack Obama came out and strongly condemned it. Here's Obama:

"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," Obama said at a news conference. "I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable that that does not violate our Constitution."

Well, guess what. It wasn't the conservative bloc of the Supreme Court that issued this decision -- it was the liberal bloc. And those are the types of judges that Barack Obama has promised to appoint. And with a Democratic Senate, they will swiftly be approved.

Run with it, Senator McCain...