The Court’s Power Grab

May 20, 2010 05:34

If justices can pick and choose which legal principles and practices they will follow, from the many widely varying principles and practices in countries around the world, then they can find a basis for doing just about anything they feel like doing.

Thomas Sowell at NRO

In Graham v. Florida, the Court overstepped its bounds.

You might think that being a Supreme Court justice would be the top-of-the-line job for someone in the legal profession. But many Supreme Court decisions suggest that too many justices are not satisfied with their role, and seek more sweeping powers as supreme policy-makers, grand second-guessers, or philosopher-kings.

The latest example of this is the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Graham v. Florida. The issue was whether the Constitution permitted a state to impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole when the criminal was a youthful offender. The Supreme Court voted 6 to 3 that this was a violation of the Constitution.

If your copy of the Constitution doesn’t say anything about youthful offenders, do not worry that you have a defective copy. There is no such statement in the Constitution. What the justices cited as the alleged basis for their decision was the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishments.”

Since 37 out of the 50 states permit sentences of life without the possibility of parole, such a sentence is not unusual. How about cruel? If it is cruel, then why is it okay to impose that sentence on people who are not youthful?


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