Mona Charen

In the United States today we no longer enjoy the rule of law but instead the rule of lawyers -- robed lawyers with the exalted title "justice" -- but still unelected lawyers enacting their own policy preferences.

Before their commonsense decision in the Second Amendment case, a different complement of justices (Justice Anthony Kennedy siding with the liberals) demonstrated what a flimsy hold the words of the Constitution have on our jurisprudence. In fact, when you consider that the court is pretty well divided between four liberals and four conservatives with Justice Kennedy swinging from one side to another as the spirit moves him, we now enjoy a Republic of Kennedy. All this fuss and bother about the presidential race is misplaced. The most powerful man in the land is someone most Americans couldn't pick out of a lineup.

In Louisiana v. Kennedy, the majority held unconstitutional a statute that permitted the death penalty for rape of a child under the age of 12. In the case at bar, the child was an 8-year-old girl who was brutally raped by her stepfather. After feeding her a cocktail of drugs dissolved in a glass of orange juice, the defendant attacked the girl so brutally that, as the decision records: "An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that L.H.'s injuries were the most severe he had seen from a sexual assault ... A laceration to the left wall of the vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus. The injuries required emergency surgery."

Explaining why the statute violated the constitutional prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment, Justice Kennedy declared that, "Evolving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person, and the punishment of criminals must conform to that rule." Will someone please ask Justice Kennedy and his liberal fellows this question: If it's all a matter of "evolving standards," then why pretend to abide by a written document at all? And whose evolving standards?


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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