It?s time for some changes at the Supreme Court. How about forcing all justices to retire at age 70? Even better, let?s dissolve the Court and let the Senate serve as the court of last resort.
Too extreme, you say? But these proposals would merely bring us into line with our allies in Canada and Britain. The Canadians have a mandatory retirement age for their judges, and in Britain the House of Lords serves as the nation?s highest court.
Oh, sure, these changes would be unconstitutional. But turnabout is fair play. The Supreme Court no longer restricts itself to following American law and the American Constitution, so why shouldn?t we make arbitrary, unconstitutional changes to the Court?
The latest example of judicial overreach came in this month?s Roper v. Simmons decision. By a 5-4 margin, the court ruled that states may not execute anyone who was younger than 18 at the time of his crime. No matter where you stand on the death penalty, as an American you should be troubled by the court?s rationale in this case.
In the majority decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that there?s now a ?national consensus? against the use of the death penalty for juveniles. But his conclusion is based on what the dissent described as ?the flimsiest grounds.? Indeed, a majority of death penalty states authorize the punishment for 16- and 17-year olds who commit certain premeditated and aggravated murders. So much for a supposed national consensus.
But Kennedy went even further in his decision, noting the majority ?finds confirmation in the stark reality that the United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile death penalty.?
Most Americans would say, ?So what?? It doesn?t matter what other countries do or what laws they pass. Americans are subject only to our laws and our Constitution.
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