Praise God! One small step foward to recognizing and honoring the sanctity of human life.
From AP a few minutes ago.....
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states.
The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes. The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.
It was the second major defeat at the high court in three years for supporters of the death penalty. Justices in 2002 banned the execution of the mentally retarded, also citing the Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishments.
The court had already outlawed executions for those who were 15 and younger when they committed their crimes.
Tuesday's ruling prevents states from making 16- and 17-year-olds eligible for execution.
Justice Anthony Kennedy (news - web sites), writing for the majority, noted that most states don't allow the execution of juvenile killers and those that do use the penalty infrequently. The trend, he noted, was to abolish the practice....
Juvenile offenders have been put to death in recent years in just a few other countries, including Iran (news - web sites), Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia. All those countries have gone on record as opposing capital punishment for minors.
The Supreme Court has permitted states to impose capital punishment since 1976 and more than 3,400 inmates await execution in the 38 states that allow death sentences...."
The four most liberal justices had already gone on record in 2002, calling it "shameful" to execute juvenile killers. Those four, joined by Kennedy, also agreed with Tuesday's decision: Justices John Paul Stevens (news - web sites), David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (news - web sites) and Stephen Breyer (news - web sites)."