Irrationality in the Courts
Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a minor cannot receive a life sentence except for first-degree murder.
Not too long ago in American history, stupid decisions were for the most part rare, as in Dred Scott and Wade. But now, they seem to be a yearly occurrence, as in Kelo, Guantanamo Bay and now this one today, Graham.
We seem to be stuck on stupid; congress, president, agencies (especially the EPA, Department of Energy, Department of Education), and now out of habit the Supreme Court.
But if there is any saving grace, read this brilliant dissenting opinion by Justice Thomas:
The integrity of our criminal justice system depends on the ability of citizens to stand between the defendant and an outraged public and dispassionately determine his guilt and the proper amount of punishment based on the evidence presented. That process necessarily admits of human error. But so does the process of judging in which we engage. As between the two, I find far more "unacceptable" that this Court, swayed by studies reflecting the general tendencies of youth, decree that the people of this country are not fit to decide for themselves when the rare case requires different treatment. That is especially so because, in the end, the Court does not even believe its pronouncements about the juvenile mind. If it did, the categorical rule it announces today would be most peculiar because it leaves intact state and federal laws that permit life-without-parole sentences for juveniles who commit homicides. See ante, at 23. The Court thus acknowledges that there is nothing inherent in the psyche of a person less than 18 that prevents him from acquiring the moral agency necessary to warrant a life without-parole sentence. Instead, the Court rejects overwhelming legislative consensus only on the question of which acts are sufficient to demonstrate that moral agency. The Court is quite willing to accept that a 17-year-old who pulls the trigger on a firearm can demonstrate sufficient depravity and irredeemability to be denied reentry into society, but insists that a 17-year-old who rapes an 8year-old and leaves her for dead does not.