April 21, 2008

Probably the main reason not to vote for Obama -- and the Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

One word: Judges.

As National Review's Jonah Goldberg writes,

Consider the stunning decision handed down from the Supreme Court this week.

The court ruled that the state of Kentucky may continue to use lethal injections when administering the death penalty. But that’s not what’s shocking. Nor was it surprising that for the first time Justice John Paul Stevens admitted he thinks the death penalty is unconstitutional.

What is staggering, or at least should be, is that Stevens freely admits that he no longer considers “objective evidence” or even the plain text of the Constitution determinative of what is or isn’t constitutional: “I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty” is unconstitutional.

You can be sure Stevens is Obama's type of judge, for here what's important to Obama for potential Supreme Court judges: “One’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”

Not historical precedent, not legal knowledge, not the text of the Constitutional and its actual meaning. But one's feelings.

Supreme Court justices must “solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.”

Note the bit about doing right to poor and rich alike. Feeling sorry for the poor guy who violates the Constitution or the law has no role in how a Supreme Court justice is supposed to make a decision. Legislators can write laws based on empathy. They can invoke their pet theories about “how the world works.” They can even, as Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are fond of doing, consult foreign laws and court decisions in their efforts to make a more perfect union. But Supreme Court justices are supposed to decide what the written law requires, not pick winners and losers based upon some sense of noblesse oblige. That’s why all of those statues of Lady Justice show her standing blindfolded, not bent over kissing the boo-boos of the unfortunate and the downtrodden.

Speaking of High Court judges, Cynthia Armour of Milton in today's News Journal believes that the SCOTUS Catholics are hypocrites for upholding the death penalty:

As a Catholic, I am appalled that the so-called "devout" Catholics on the Supreme Court all voted that execution by lethal injection is not cruel and unusual punishment.

Pope Benedict has stated that capital punishment is against Catholic belief, so how can these hypocrites vote that any kind of capital punishment can be acceptable?

The answer is, Cynthia, that these Catholic judges are going beyond their personal feelings and beliefs and doing their job as required. Oh yeah, and as far as I remember, there is a thing in our country called "separation of church and state." Would you want Supreme Court judges imposing a religious test on each case before them?

If anything, the bigger "hypocrites" are Catholic lawmakers like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy who are as pro-choice on abortion as they come. After all, it is they who MAKE the laws which the Supreme Court has to then interpret and rule on. In the almost 40 years since Roe v. Wade, it would take a constitutional amendment to totally outlaw abortion; as good Catholics I wonder if Kerry and Kennedy would support such an amendment and gather support for it to pass the senate.

Yeah, right.

Posted by Hube at April 21, 2008 05:38 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Hube, I was going to get to that second letter also. An additional problem that I wouldn't expect you to necessarily be aware of is that the death penalty is permissable under Catholic thought. The current teaching of the Church is that it is almost impossible to justify in the modern world with the improvements in technology that allow us to keep criminals locked up, but that is a prudential judgment, not an immutable decision.

So while it's encouraged, but not required, for Catholics to oppose the death penalty today it's "built in" to Catholic thought that the situation can change, and even specific circumstances in today's world could call for the death penalty. If society declines to the point that incarcerating criminals securely becomes very difficult, leading to the possibility that violent murderers could more easily escape and cause more deaths then the death penalty would become permissable under Catholic thought.

Banning it now under a permanent, binding declaration by the Supreme Court would tie the hands of future generations should circumstances change. If people wish to ban the death penalty, they should pursue legislative, rather than judicial, avenues.

Posted by: Paul Smith at April 21, 2008 05:58 PM