Rape victims’ groups support Supreme Court decision

Rape victims’ groups support Supreme Court decision June 26, 2008

[I]f you have a death penalty, why not apply it to child rapists ?

As if it were that simple. Let us see why victims’ rights groups like the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault that have a much better understanding of the issue actually disagree with Gerald and support the Supreme Court’s decision on Kennedy v. Louisiana (emphasis mine) :

“The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) supports the Supreme Court’s decision, released this morning to overturn the death penalty for child sexual assault cases. Victim advocates have long been concerned that the death penalty for child sexual assault cases could backfire and result in lower reporting rates and fewer convictions of sex offenders.

“The issue of child sexual abuse is complex. Most child sexual abuse victims are abused by a family member or close family friend. The reality is that, child victims and their families may feel greater reluctance to come forward, knowing that doing so could effectively send a grandparent, cousin or long time family friend to death row. In addition, capital punishment trials are notoriously stressful for the witnesses involved, and typically face a lengthy appeals process. This forces the child witness to relive these painful events over and over again, severely disrupting their healing process.

The National Association of Social Workers also support the court’s 5-4 decision:

“We are heartened that the Court found the real-life experiences of victims and their families, as well as research on the reporting of child sexual abuse, persuasive. This ruling supports the investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse while providing an opportunity for victims to heal,” said NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH.


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  • Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP

    I was driving home from ministry yesterday and listening to the radio when I heard Obama’s support of the decision- I figured I must have misheard him so I went home and confirmed it via the internet. And today he seems to have supported the courts decision on the DC gun ban. Did I suddenly get transported to bizzaro-world?

  • Gerald Augustinus

    Aw come on now! I’m the bad guy to conservatives AND progressives ! *self pity*
    Where were you when I defended illegal farm workers and called for amnesty ? Eh ? :oP

    http://closedcafeteria.blogspot.com/2008/06/to-grunt-and-sweat-under-weary-life.htm

    As far as the particular pervert is concerned, if you read just what he did to that little girl (it’s in my post), I don’t see why that is not heinous enough for the death penalty. I am still sick from reading that. Btw, Mr. Obama agrees – he’s for the death penalty, not sure everyone is aware of that.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP

    For more on bizzaro world:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_World

    My name still has an OP behind it right? Not an SJ? 😉

  • Br. Matthew,

    I’m with you on the confusion. Obama is disappointing me quite a bit, not that the disappointment was nonexistent before his recent disagreements/agreements with the court’s decisions.

    Gerald,

    You’re too easy to pick on 🙂 Sorry! Blame it on your blog’s popularity, I googled the thing and your blog was the first one to come up. And yes, Obama does support the death penalty on the issue. Somebody on VN needs to blog about that.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Who said someting to the effect that it was function of the law to protect a society from its oftentimes understandable’, yet irrational wails for complete revenge?

  • I like the result in Kennedy as a matter of policy (I would rather force child rapists to bust rocks for the rest of their miserable lives), but the decision was clearly wrong. The Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence is an abomination.

  • David Nickol

    If Obama were to disagree with the Supreme Court on this, he would be accused of advocating child rape, in much the same way he is accused of supporting “dismembering our young” and infanticide.

    What is the point of a presidential candidate agreeing or disagreeing with every controversial decision of the Supreme Court? Only very rarely should we be expecting our presidents to work against Supreme Court decisions.

  • “What is the point of a presidential candidate agreeing or disagreeing with every controversial decision of the Supreme Court?”

    Because it gives us insight into the type of justices/judges he/she might appoint, which is a pretty important consideration for voters.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP

    David,

    Speaking for myself, I certianly would not have accused him of adovocating child rape. Some people may have done so, but I wouldn’t expect that those would be individuals whose vote Obama was trying to court, right? I’m confused why he decided to support these decisions. Even if it were granted that he was not sincere and was just jockeying for votes (which wouldn’t speak well of him, to my mind), how does this give him an advantage?

  • David Nickol

    Freddie and Br. Matthew,

    It seems to me a Supreme Court decision should be thought of as something more than a temporary matter to be overturned once your party is elected to the presidency. If the Court changed every four years, it would be different. But it seems to me that under our system of government, overturning a Supreme Court decision would be a rare matter, and amending the Constitution would be very rare. The Supreme Court is there to interpret the Constitution, and if the Constitution keeps changing every time on party manages to get its people in the majority, what is the point of having a Constitution?

    I of course instantly make up my mind which side was right and which side was wrong as soon as I read the headline about a Supreme Court decision, but it seems to me for a presidential candidate to disagree with a decision, he should at least have time to read it and think about it. Even the members of the Supreme Court, who get to say what the Constitution means, recognize they are bound to some extent to go along with past decisions they do not even agree with (because of stare decisis).

    Knowing what kind of judges a president would appoint does not require knowing every case he agrees with or disagrees with. My instant reaction is to disagree with Obama here, but it doesn’t bother me. All he’s doing is accepting the decisions as the law of the land, which they are.

  • JH

    Brother Matthew,

    As to Obama it is madly trying to get elected 🙂

    I have not researched in depth Obama hisotry on the State Execution. However I think he has always been open to it. Depsite the fact that I belive he is in State that for some time has had a moratorium on it.

    On the gun case I expect it gets complicated on what Obama thinks areasonable restriction. I would have the think the issse has come up since Mayor Daley is a huge Gun Control person

  • Daniel H. Conway

    Again, as one who openly declares the Republican Party as a failure on life matters and worse, if not openly contradicting a culture of life, the Democrats certainly get a “seamless shroud” award for promoting cradle to grave threats to life.

  • “I’m confused why he decided to support these decisions. ”

    Child rape — Why? — one word: Dukakis

    Gun Ban — Why? — a reasonable compromise.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Gerald Campbell,

    Exactly.

    Rove would have had a field day with the child rape stuff. And’conservative ‘ Catholics would have joined in the chorus, calling Obama the devil in a liberal wimp disguise. For they want blood, in one form or another,

  • Mike

    Child rape — Why? — one word: Dukakis

    Two words: his daughters.

  • Katerina

    Child rape — Why? — one word: Dukakis

    Do you guys mind enlightening me here? I’m lost

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Katerinaa,
    in 1988, Dukakis was a known for his principled opposition to the deathh penalty.

    He was asked in a nationally televised debate about his position, presented with the hypothetical of his wife’s being brutally murdered.

    He gave a very cerebral response and lost alot of points in the polls as a result.

  • Ohh ok, thanks Mark.

  • Katerina,

    Take a look at Bernie Shaw asking Dukakis the question Mark mentioned:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF9gSyku-fc

  • The above quotes of The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and the National Association of Social Workers express policy preferences.

    But the Supreme Court’s job is NOT to behave like a mini-legislature in balancing policy considerations. In this case, that belonged to the Louisiana legislature. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, should have been interpreting the law at issue against the Eighth Amendment. Instead of doing this, the majority used the flimsiest and most relative methods of reasoning: “evolving standards of decency” (i.e., make things up as you go along). Justice Alito, in dissent, wrote:

    “The Court provides no cogent explanation why [Louisiana’s] legislative judgment should be overridden. Conclusory references to “decency,” “moderation,” “restraint,” “full progress,” and “moral judgment” are not enough. ” Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 23 (2008 ).

    Unfortunately, Justices Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg, Stevens, and (occasionally) Kennedy believe that it’s their role to shove their personal preferences into decisions usually while ignoring the very Constitution to which they have sworn to be faithful.

  • Mike

    Unfortunately, Justices Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg, Stevens, and (occasionally) Kennedy believe that it’s their role to shove their personal preferences into decisions usually while ignoring the very Constitution to which they have sworn to be faithful.

    Actually, that’s what Scalia and Thomas believe. They are both fundamentally dishonest and cynical.

  • jh

    “Actually, that’s what Scalia and Thomas believe. They are both fundamentally dishonest and cynical”

    Not really. There are a ton of thing s Isupsect they would want the Const to want but they know can’t be

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Gerald,

    Ok, so is Obama just posing or is he telling the truth? If the former, why is he being disingenous? If the latter, he is no different than McCain on a life issue that I see as fundamental.

  • c matt

    I agree that the Court’s job is not to balance policy preferences – that’s for the legislature. So what is the Court’s job with respect to the 8th Amd? How much deference should the legislature’s policy decisions be given? What guidelines can you come up with to determine when the legislature has overstepped the 8th Amd? For example, what if the legislature decided amputating a finger was proper punishment for stealing anything over $50? How do you draw the line?

  • “Actually, that’s what Scalia and Thomas believe. They are both fundamentally dishonest and cynical”

    I would ask for an example of this Scalia/Thomas dishonesty and cynicism but I suspect I’ll get neither.

    Read some of their opinions and they’re grounded in the Constitutional text, not what they feel or think at the moment.

    And example of this is Scalia’s dislike of flag burning. Yet he rules that under the First Amendment, flag burning (disgusting as it always is) cannot be banned because it violates the First Amendment.

    If only Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer and Souter were half as honorable.