Two Civil Liberties Decisions Of The Supreme Court That Make Sense!

The Supreme Court made two decisions today on criminal law that makes sense, and protect civil liberties!

In one case, Graham V. Florida, the Court divided 5-4 with the four liberal Justices joined by Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the Court, who more often votes with the conservatives, but not this time!

The case involved the issue of whether a juvenile offender, who had committed crimes short of murder, could be imprisoned for life automatically, and the decision was to reject that. Justice Kennedy, the author of the opinion, said it was generally accepted nationally and internationally that such a viewpoint was wrong, with only eleven states and mostly Florida cases having sentenced juveniles to life without parole on non murder cases.

The fact that Kennedy used the international argument upset Justice Clarence Thomas, who said foreign practices are irrelevant to our laws and Constitution.

The struggle over whether foreign law should have any impact on our courts is a heated one, and it shows just how important Justice Kennedy is on the Court, as the truly “swing” vote on the Court, which he has been for many years now, with a tightly divided Court!

In another case, US V. Comstock, the Court by 7-2 declared that a sexually dangerous convict could be held beyond the terms of his sentence, as a way to protect the public from him being a menace on the streets of the country.

While at first thought, it would seem that this is a denial of civil liberties, it seems fair that if someone is seen as a threat to the public because of inability to control sexual impulses, based on clear and direct medical and psychological evidence, then the protection and promotion of safety of citizens must be foremost!

Interestingly, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were in the minority on this case! It proves once again that both Justices are indeed hard to understand in their thinking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.