ABC News reported yesterday that the “Supreme Court is taking another look at one of last term’s most controversial decisions, that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on those who rape but do not kill children.”
Kennedy v. Louisiana was a close opinion and the court found “that while the crime of raping a child is a “revulsion” to society, it does not merit the death penalty.”
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that Louisiana death row inmate Patrick O. Kennedy cannot be put to death for the rape of his then-8-year-old stepdaughter.
The highly unusual order from the court Monday stems from a glaring omission in the case: Lawyers on both sides failed to realize, and therefore failed to inform the court, that Congress had passed a federal law authorizing the death penalty for child rape by military personnel.
The court asked both parties and lawyers for the Bush to administration, “to file court papers on whether a rehearing is required and whether the existence of that federal law should change its analysis of the case.” Briefs are due Sept. 24.
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