Court mulls death penalty for child rape

Court mulls death penalty for child rape – Yahoo! News

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether a state can execute someone convicted of raping a child, one of the few remaining crimes that does not require the death of the victim to result in capital punishment.

I do oppose the death penalty, but a ruling that would declare the death penalty for child rape unconstitutional would seem to be an exercise in legislating from the bench more than an exercise in constitutional review. The 8th Amendment reads:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Given the constitutionality of the death penalty, which the defendant’s lawyers don’t seem to be contesting, I find it hard to believe that the crime of sexually molesting a child is not deserving of a harsh sentence. (Especially in this case where the victim was the perpetrator’s stepdaughter. I can’t imagine the trauma a young girl being raped by a father figure would go through.)

The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman.

I wasn’t aware of this, but without having read the original decision, I find it difficult to believe that this isn’t a case of judicial overreach. We may not like executing someone for rape, but it’s certainly a severe crime where the desire to execute someone for it is understandable. Given that, it seems that under our Constitution, that’s a legislative question more than a judicial matter. Matters relating to the application of moral questions, to the extent they belong to the government at all, are properly reserved to the Legislature, rather than the judiciary.

Gambling can have positive effects you could never imagine

Subject: A bet is a bet

In April 1989, a conservative friend of mine (and Michigan alum) bet at-the-time left-liberal me (a Seton Hall alum) that Michigan would beat SHU in the NCAA men’s basketball finals. The bet was if SHU won, he had to subscribe to The Nation for a year. If Michigan won, I’d have to subscribe to National Review. Michigan won in OT, and I signed up to read Mr. Buckley’s magazine.

Being a compulsive reader, I couldn’t just ignore the thing. There was something about it that got to me … I didn’t even know conservatives could argue — and certainly not be so erudite, witty and damned reasonable about it. I didn’t become conservative right away, but found myself adopting more and more conservative positions on things.

Economics: Is there any problem it can’t solve?

The Economics of Weight Loss (or: Dieting for Dollars)

So I heeded the suggestion of Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, and cooked up my own “Economist Weight-Loss Incentive Plan”: I contracted with a friend to pay her $500 if I had not lost nine pounds at the end of 10 weeks. I and a witness (my friend’s husband) signed the pact. My friend similarly obligated herself to take the payment and to spend it on herself. She affirmed her solemn pledge with her signature, witnessed by her husband (with a big grin).

I had her sign because I wanted to make sure that she would not wimp out on me at the end of the contract term and refuse to take the payment out of guilt. I wanted to be bound for the full cost (and pain) of my commitment.

Incentives matter. I may have to try this plan with someone. Probably someone I wouldn’t want to give the money to otherwise, so a donation to a good charity wouldn’t count. I’ll have to think about this….