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Activist judges? Legislating from the bench?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Danny R, Mar 4, 2005.

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  1. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Hall Of Fame

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    Pyschobabble. I knew right from wrong WAY, WAY, WAY before age 18.

    That being said, the earlier post about some 30 year olds being juvenile is ALSO correct.

    So far, overall, the procedures in place for whether someone should stand trial as a competent adult have worked reasonably well.

    I've seen the cases of, for example, a Downs Syndrome sufferer being judged not able to stand trial, and of the opposite for some early teenagers. Example there would be the Columbine murderers - they killed people while executing a pre-mediated, extensive plan. You can't tell me they didn't know it was wrong. I don't care if they were under 18 or not, they deserved to be tried as adults, including the death penalty. Fortunately, we did not have to suffer through that trial.
     
  2. ntexasdude

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    I've been a Texas resident for 42 years. I can't ever remember a 12 year old being executed here. :confused:
     
  3. pjmrt

    pjmrt Hall Of Fame

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    Maybe in liberal households :lol: (kidding)

    But Simon is right. I knew basic right from wrong long before long before I was 18. The system basically works! For a 16 or 17 year old to be tried as an adult, the court first has to hear evidence and declare that he/she CAN be tried as an adult. No this ruling is just a deliberate weakening of the death penalty laws based essentially on personal political bias of 5 justices. Are 18 year olds as mature as 25 year olds? Well that depends on indivual personalities - I know some 18 year olds who are definitely more mature than some 25 year olds. But that is not the test. Do they understand that murder is wrong and punishable up to and including the criminal's own death. Most of these punks understand that. They have just been "hand slapped" in the juvenile justice system that they think they can do as they please, when they please and nothing bad will happen because they are just "kids". Mercy would have given them a stronger sentence earlier on to turn them around before they get to the point of committing capital murder.
     
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Hall Of Fame

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    EXACTLY!
     
  5. pjmrt

    pjmrt Hall Of Fame

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    I am curious - you evidently think we should show criminals mercy, which apparently means not executing them no matter what crime they committed. I will admit that I struggle with the concept of mercy and the concept of justice - after all I'm sure you will agree that God is both Just and Merciful. So is it merciful to lock a 16 year old in prison for the rest of his/her life. No hope of getting out. Yes they have some visitors, but it is very limited by prison staff (I think I read somewhere it was like once or twice a month - but don't know for sure). They have to interact daily with inmates who share their blatent disregard for life - meaning they will likely be raped or beaten by the physically stronger. So is that mercy? And if not, what would be mercy? Let them go? What about the person or persons he/she kills next? Was that mercy?

    As I look at it through an "idealized" vision - prison should be for those who have some hope of being rehabiliated and reentering society without further injuring or killing someone. By the time someone commits capital murder, they pretty much have the attitude that they do not care about life or people at all. Generally that is not their first scrape with the law. So imprison them for life without parole? You basically have buried them alive, in a living coffin. They are not going to be rereleased - the system has already decided they cannot be trusted among the general population - no one else will die because of them. Is that mercy? Well, you mentioned prison ministries. I think they are great and needed. I've read some of Chuck Colson's stuff (but wait, he's one of the hated religous righters now - sorry :) ) Perhaps if the ministry can rehabilitate them, even if they remain locked up - then perhaps that is mercy. What is impossible with man is possible with God. But would they want to be free then? Pick-ax murdered Karla Tucker said:

    So if they are saved in prison, then maybe it is mercy. But they apparently won't shirk the responsibilty to pay for their crimes, even if it costs them their lives. But if they do not change, if they do not hear the gospel and become born again in whatever time they are in prison - how is living in their coffin for 30, 40, 50 years or more any more merciful than facing the executioner earlier. And why should the taxpayers thus have to build more prisons and pay tax money to guard, feed, even educate these guys when they've proven they otherwise cannot be trusted to roam free in society? I don't see the argument for or against the death penalty as being crisp and clear. But I think it is a choice to be made by individual states through their legally elected legislatures - not to be mandated by a federal judiciary overstepping their authority and rewriting states laws because they have a personal bias against them. This was not decided on clear constitutional grounds and the disenting votes said as much.
     
  6. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Jan 11, 2004
    However, you're simply not accepting the judges' interpretation in favor of the "conservatives" interpretation. Why should anyone accept YOUR interpretation over the 5 judges? Is tyrany ok as long as you're the tyrant?

    The judges are doing their job. You disagree with their ruling. Tough, get over it. After all, they gave you a President, what more do you want?
     
  7. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Exactly, but only if the legislators are vetted as "conservative". It's not really that he thinks the rulings overstepped the bounds, but that the rulings don't wash with the conservative agenda. So then, if it doesn't agree with the conservative agenda, it must be attacked and those judges punished in some way. They must never, ever, rule against the conservative agenda.
     
  8. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Any slap in the face to the conservative junta is welcomed, no matter from where or from whom.
     
  9. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Much like you'd prefer to take many rights from others simply because you don't like them or they believe differently than you. If hypocrisy were painful, you would be in mortal danger. :sure:
     
  10. durl

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    Just so we know the starting point, here's what the Constitution, the document that establishes the Supreme Court, has to say about it's role and responsibilities:

    Article. III.
    Section. 1.
    The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

    Section. 2.
    Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State; (See Note 10)--between Citizens of different States, --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

    Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    Clause 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

    Obviously there is nothing in the Article that grants the Supreme Court the right to determine which laws are acceptable and which are not. Rather, the Court's role is to make decisions based upon EXISTING law and apply their decisions accordingly. For a group of unelected judges to strike down laws because they don't think they jive with what other countries think is nothing short of tyranny. The Massachusetts Supreme court in 2004 ruled that homosexual marriage was a "must" when they had NO authority to declare what is a "must" legally. Also, in Nevada, their supreme court essentially declared a duly ratified "two-thirds" majority vote to increase taxes null and void because they didn't think it was right in their eyes.

    When courts can, on a whim, decide which laws are null and void, we no longer have a representative republic. Rather, we bow to the will of unelected kings. Laws are MADE by the Congress. Practical law is APPLIED by the Supreme Court. They have no authority to bypass the written law unless it contradicts existing law. The term "judicial review" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. It's true that any court ruling is based upon a "judgement" of a court official, but there is a huge difference between interpretation of the law's application and interpreting it's validity based upon the judge's personal feelings.

    I'm quite sure that many who approve of judicial activism would be outraged if the Supreme Court suddenly decided to re-enact slavery (much like Africa currently has), or revoked women's rights to vote. When judges begin looking elsewhere besides the laws of the United States, anything is fair game.
     
  11. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    The term "judicial review" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.

    You are basically rearguing Marbury v Madison by taking that stance. Good luck with that. Its a precident thats dates back to within 14 years of the founding.

    When judges begin looking elsewhere besides the laws of the United States, anything is fair game.

    Again, this was only a fractional basis for the decision, and the decision did state quite specifically that what other countries do is NOT precedent for what the court is obliged to do. Rather the argument was just support for the decision.
     
  12. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    I do believe the US Constitution is still "existing law" and the judges ruled that a law was in violation of the Constitution. That is their job. You may not agree with that ruling, but too damn bad, bud. They did their job and you don't like it, tough.
    The judges rightfully ruled that it was a violation of the state constitution to keep gay couples from the legal attributes of marriage. They were well within their authority to make such a ruling. Again, just because you don't like the ruling does not constitute an abuse of their powers.

    You people hate the judicial branch because you see it as the only remaining barrier to your complete domination and takeover of the US government. Excuse me if I don't feel sorry for you.
    Yes, they do. If they determine the laws are in violation of the Constitution, they can certainly overturn them, as they have done.
    But should a conservative judge base their ruling on their conservative feelings, no doubt you'd cheer that ruling and pat them on the back.
     
  13. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Shhhh, conservatives don't like it when relevant facts that are contrary to their argument are brought to the fore after they've desperately tried to bury them. They get all huffy about it, actually, and can start calling you names and accusing you of being a traitor or unpatriotic or (gasp!) a "liberal"! :sure:
     
  14. SimpleSimon

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    You're both saying the same thing here (but all other points are valid debate). The Constitution (state or federal) IS "existing law" - and in fact, the most basic thereof (except where said Constitution itself references preceding law).
     
  15. jonstad

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    I think I agree with you here Simon.

    Scary, eh?:eek2:

    Thanks to DURL, here is what I believe is the relevant section of the Constitution.
    Sort of like the ACLU, the SCOTUS accepts only cases they determine as posing a question of Constitutionality. If they don't perceive a Constitutional question, they let lower court decisions stand. That is why it is very important how any appeal to SCOTUS is presented. In this case, the "question" was whether executing those under 18 constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the Constitution. And they ruled that yes it was at least cruel, and to an extent unusual because even many states with the death penalty had already outlawed it. You may agree or disagree, but on the whole I don't see as anyone could consider it drastically unreasonable.

    On the larger question of capital punishment itself. I have less of a problem with the concept then with the enthusiasm we Americans seem to embrace it. Even among those few countries that do retain the death penalty(I know! They don't make our laws:sure: ), most rarely employ it and seem to regard the whole phenomena as rather distasteful. And even those that DO utilize it near the frequency we do(China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other sterling examples of democracy and justice spring to mind) don't seem to relish it as much as US.

    Is there a bit of the ghoul in the American psyche? Or are we just that vindictive and vengeful? I can't quite figure it. It's been shown over and over again to be absolutely no deterrent. Sometimes I think it's just a power trip. We do it because we can! Also at times I believe there's this perception that we'll lose control and society will become lawless unless we kill someone, not just occasionally but on a regular continuing basis. But that's been shown not to be so. Not only by states that don't have the penalty of death, but by other nations as well. There are some countries, certainly with the potential of being more "lawless" then the US, who have NO punishment greater then 20 year imprisonment. And they have lower crime rates too.

    And now of course, many of us are upset because we can't execute minors and the mentally retarded.:hair:

    There seems to be no logical rationale for it. It's either naked revenge. An unfounded fear of unrestrained criminality. Or, we just like the idea we can collectively kill people.:nono2:
     
  16. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Yep. Don't you dare abort a fetus because we may want to discriminate against it or kill it later after it's born. :nono2:
     
  17. ntexasdude

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    Man, that is one very twisted line of logic there. Whew! :scratch:
     
  18. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    I agree, but that seems to be what some of the people here and other conservatives lamenting the SCOTUS ruling are saying.
     
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