6.06.2005

Re: Supreme Court ruling

Here is the text of my paper. It is unedited so expect errors. Also, the paper was required to be only a page in length, so many details were removed for the sake of my grade. Thanks for reading!

This March, the United States Supreme Court made one of its worst decisions since Plessy vs. Ferguson. The 5-4 vote ruled that individuals under the age of eighteen can not receive the death penalty. Justice Souter, in his affirmative opinion, cited scientific evidence, overwhelming public opinion, and international decisions.
It is a sad day in America when the law of the land is changed on the whims of justice systems with no relation to ours, and located thousands of miles distant. Our laws and principles are determined by our people, not the French or the Dutch. It is for this reason that the United States does not take part in the International Court of Justice. One is reminded of the saying, “if they jumped off of a cliff, would you, too?”
Souter also claims there is an overwhelming public opinion against the death penalty being applied to minors, but does so without saying where this information appears. The best way to gauge public opinion is by the content of laws passed by elected legislatures, not day-to-day polls that are notoriously inaccurate. Upon examining records, one finds that only 47% of states that allow the death penalty forbid it for minors. This is duly noted by Justice Scalia in his scathing dissenting opinion.
Also an issue brought up by Scalia is the claim that scientific, as shown to the court by the American Psychological Association, says that minors don’t emotionally grasp the concept of killing. In fact, the APA testified the exact opposite to the court only months before in a case involving parental notification for minors wishing to have an abortion.
Unless it is believable that 47% is a large majority, and that foreign powers should determine our legal basis, action should be taken against this ruling. Of course, one should not turn to violence, unless one is 17.

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