Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Last ♥ Daily Kos?

Not really, but I do agree with the Daily Kos that the Supreme Court's decision to bar the death penalty for juveniles is a net good.

While I'm certain this case has raised the ire of Abbie Carmichael, I'd like to see the United States abolish the death penalty. Not on grounds of procedural imperfection or discrimination, but on moral grounds.

I'm sympathetic to those who argue in favor of capital punishment. I understand and appreciate its theoretical benefits. But at the end of the day I don't know that whatever deterrent or cathartic effects it has are worth the harm it does to our culture. Life, all life, is precious. When there is a workable, practical alternative, the government--meaning we the people--should not be in the business of destroying life.

Every time the government executes a prisoner, it hardens us that much more to the act of abortion, or embryonic stem-cell research, or to the every-day moments where mercy is needed.

In general, courts shouldn't make law. But this case, since it applies only to juveniles, is a smaller form of overreach. Hopefully popular opinion will one day swell so that legislatures, and not the judiciary, will make the death penalty a thing of the past.

11 comments:

Ralphie said...

Well, at least you won't be bothered when someone says, "If you're pro-life, how come you're not against the death penalty?"

I always thought the idea was to be pro-innocent life, that is, life that's not guilty of murder.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I completely agree and I think it takes guts for a conservative to publicly disagree with the death penalty. And not in a "My personal belief is against, but publicly I'm for" kind of way. Thanks for the moral consistency on all questions of life, innocent or not.

Anonymous said...

"Life, all life, is precious. When there is a workable, practical alternative, the government--meaning we the people--should not be in the business of destroying life."

Never would have picked you for one of those anti-war protesters. Or was not going to war not a "workable, practical alternative"?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I hate the idea of the state being in the business of killing its citizens. I too am pro-life . . . always.

Vorpal said...

There are no 'theoretical' benefits of capital punishment. It is either moral it is not. If you have a Judeo-Christian belief system, then the simple truth is that God, Himself, established capital punishment as a penalty for murder because man is made in God's image. He also delegated the implementation of Capital Punishment to the civil authorities. A pro-capital punishment position *is* consisent with a pro-life position because they *both* defend the innocent. It is more difficult to explain this position to a corrupt and attention deficieted generation. But it is worth the effort.

Paul Chesser said...

The deterrent is in the fact that the criminal being executed is deterred from committing any more crimes.

There are moral grounds for capital punishment, and they can be found in the Bible. Of course it is found throughout the Old Testament, most notably in the worldwide flood in which only Noah and his family were preserved.

God established the principle in Genesis 9:6 when He said, "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed." He further established that human government should administer the death penalty in certain cases for certain sins in Exodus 20 and 21.

The New Testament never wiped away this principle. When Christ healed the man's ear which had been severed by Peter's sword, He said "those who live by the sword shall die by the sword." Further, in Romans 13:1-7 the government is established as the authority which "bears the sword" and "brings wrath upon the one who practices evil," among other things.

Really, capital punishment exists in the moral order because of the respect that should be held for innocent life.

It is fine to take a position on capital punishment, either way, on moral grounds. But that moral standard has to have been established somewhere, presumably by a higher authority. If you believe that authority is the God of the Bible, then the way I interpret it is that capital punishment is justified. If you believe that moral authority is someone or something else, then abide with that.

- Galley Friend P.C.

Stan Oswald said...

I find it interesting that the death penalty is considered cruel and unusual punishment while locking a person up for life, with no chance of being released is not. A few years ago I took the time to research the names of a group who had signed a letter against the death penalty. It's interesting to note that more than 60% of those names also appeared on letters decrying the keeping of animals in zoos. Is it bad to keep a non-reasoning animal in a cage but OK to keep a human?

With all that said, I feel that the biggest thing against the death penality is the over use of it. A person that has shown repeatedly that they have no concern for human life deserves it. A one time only, or crime of passion probably does not.

Anonymous said...

The worst part of this decision was Justice Kennedy using so-called "international law". There really is little left of the old Republic, this is just another crack in the foundation.

Mike R. said...

JVL- Normally I agree with you, but I have to differ with you on the issue of capital punishment itself. The insinuation that having the death penalty gives the government as excuse for abortion is fallacious. Roe v. Wade occured during the "moratorium" on capital punishment.
I totally agree that Kennedy's opinion regarding int'l law was insance. I blogged about it myself yesterday.
Scalia and O'Connor were both right. A blanket yes or no on "juvenile executions" was not needed. The Supremes can rule on a case by case basis and not unnecessarily trump states' rights.
What they did, in my opinion, was open the door for an adult to challenge via the 8th Amendment the grounds of capital punishment's constitutionality. How can they argue that an 18 year old is eligible for execution when a 17 year old is not? Remember, in Missouri where Christopher Simmons is run, 17 is the age of consent.
Kennedy and the four liberals really overreached yesterday. American law cannot/does not conform to international law, nor should it ever. Even more dangerous is the thought that other nations' laws should affect American court decisions.

Bizarro Jack said...

"God, Himself, established capital punishment as a penalty for murder because man is made in God's image."

Yes, like when he executed Cain for murdering abel, or when Jesus executed the money changers in the temple, and when God slew Jesus for being a perfect being. These are all things that we understand and are capable of administering fairly in our own society.

Go back to clown divinity college, please.

This is not to say that I think Capital Punishment should be taken off the table for adults or younger criminals, in certain cases, only that you are a looney.

Ralphie said...

Also troubling is Kennedy's mention of international legal opinion as one of the factors in his decision. Not a great precedent.