The Supreme Court's Decision to strike down the death penalty for raping a child based on factual error

The Washington Post points to the error:

what if the Supreme Court not only blows a key fact but also bases its ruling, in part, on that error? There was quite a goof in the court's 5 to 4 decision on June 25 banning the death penalty for those who rape children. The majority determined that capital punishment for child rape was unconstitutional, in part because a national consensus had formed against it. As evidence, the court noted that "37 jurisdictions -- 36 States plus the Federal Government -- have the death penalty. [But] only six of those jurisdictions authorize the death penalty for rape of a child." Actually, only two years ago, Congress enacted a death penalty for soldiers who commit child rape, as part of an update to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Irony of ironies: The court has cast doubt on the constitutionality of an act of Congress based on the erroneous claim that the statute did not exist. . . .

If the horrible event should come to pass where a soldier should rape a child, I hope that they try their best to impose the death penalty on him. Not only would it be an understandable desire to punish the horrible crime that way, but it would allow the Supreme Court to revisit the issue of the death penalty for other such horrible crimes. However, I should mention that the death penalty for crimes other than murder do have one significant problem with them, and that is it creates an incentive for the rapist or criminal committing some other act to kill the victim so as not to leave any witnesses. On the other hand that effect might be offset at least partially because police attempt to catch murderers much more than they attempt to catch other criminals.

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