With a 5-to-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled yesterday June 25 against the capital punishment of child rapists.
Of course those rapists better spend a few decades in prison. But it is quite momentuous finally to hear affirmed in the USA the principle that the death penalty cannot be applied to crimes where victims have not died.
One may start wondering if, according to the Supreme Court, capital punishment is “just” a “State revenge”, a death to compensate another death. But we can leave that to a more appropriate time.: because the other important achievement in the majority’s opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy:
When the law punishes by death, it risks its own sudden descent into brutality, transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint
Justice Kennedy has thus confirmed what already known to those fighting for the abolition of the death penalty: the very application of capital punishment means (running the risk of) brutalizing the entire legal system of the whole nation, including the professional executioners, the prosecutors arguing to terminate a human being’s life, and the judges and juries deciding to end that life.
Three “hoorays” for Justice Kennedy.