Thursday, March 03, 2005

Mom was Right.

The Supreme Court is up to its shenanigans again. (Just wanted to use the word shenanigans.) It struck down a 1989 high-court ruling allowing juvenile criminals to be executed. It cited as its rationale international opinion and national consensus. Two of the most pathetic reasons for making any decision: what my extended family thinks and what my neighbors think. Decisions by the Supreme Court should be based on what is right, not on public opinion. What if we all decided collectively it's okay to kill our fathers? Would the Supreme Court then bow to our wishes? Justice Anthony Scalia disputed any national consensus and, if there is indeed one, said the states should be voting on it--not nine people in long black dresses. Their job is not to speak for the people, their job is to speak for the Constitution. If teenagers engage in adult-sized behaviors, they have adult-sized consequences. It's ugly but it's true. Just like if you eat the super size fries (theoretically now that they have been outlawed), you'll get super size fat. Our job as a society is to help kids understand that. Then, if we really believe it's wrong for them to die for killing someone else, then we outlaw it state by state just like the Constitution says. As for international consensus, it's one thing to listen to the global community and take its thoughts under advisement. It's another thing entirely to do it just because everyone else is. Didn't the justices' mothers teach them anything? I grew up hearing "If everyone jumped off the bridge, would you too?" The fact that France or Canada or England doesn't do something is probably an indication it should be done. We need to make decisions based on what is right, not what other people think. Mom was right.


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