Obama Disagrees With Supreme Court Ruling Requiring a Death to Invoke the Death Penalty

Where is Sen. Barack Obama on the death penalty? With Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Here is what Sen. Obama had to say about today's excellent Supreme Court ruling striking down a state statute allowing the death penalty to be imposed for crimes where no death occurs:

When asked about Supreme Court ruling against the use of the death penalty in instances of child rape today at a news conference in Chicago, Obama answered, “I disagree with the decision. I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for most egregious of crimes. I think that the rape of a small child, six or eight years old is a heinous crime, and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances, the death penalty is at least potentially applicable. That does not violate our constitution.”

He continued, “Had the Supreme Court said, ‘We want to constrain ability of states to do this to make sure that it's done in a careful and appropriate way,’ that would've been one thing, but it basically had a blanket prohibition and I disagree with that decision.”

He sounds just like John McCain: [More...]

McCain’s Senate office sent out a similarly worded statement: “As a father, I believe there is no more sacred responsibility in American society than that of protecting the innocence of our children. I have spent over 25 years in Congress fighting for stronger criminal sentences for those who exploit and harm our children. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is an assault on law enforcement’s efforts to punish these heinous felons for the most despicable crime. That there is a judge anywhere in America who does not believe that the rape of a child represents the most heinous of crimes, which is deserving of the most serious of punishments, is profoundly disturbing.”

Disappointing? Yes. Predictable? Also yes.

I wonder whether this means that the pro-death penalty stance John Kerry insisted be removed from the Democratic party platform in 2004 will be making a return. I don't doubt it.

Obama mischaracterizes today's decision as a state's rights issue. It's not. It's an 8th Amendment issue of cruel and unusual punishment in which the evolving standards of decency of a civilized nation must be taken into account. The Supreme Court ruled based on such standards and its own precedent:

The constitutional prohibition against excessive or cruel and unusual punishments mandates that the State’s power to punish “be exercised within the limits of civilized standards.”

....Evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society counsel us to be most hesitant before interpreting the Eighth Amendment to allow the extension of the death penalty, a hesitation that has special force where no life was taken in the commission of the crime. It is an established principle that decency, in its essence, presumes respect for the individual and thus moderation or restraint in the application of capital punishment.

...As it relates to crimes against individuals, though, the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim’s life was not taken.

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    This is always a tough one because it (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 10:50:13 PM EST
    is easy to understand both sides, but you cannot undo death....

    The death penalty at all. (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:25:25 AM EST
    jeeeeez. So backwards.

    True (none / 0) (#66)
    by coigue on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:44:06 PM EST
    there is no room for error.

    also, who wants to be responsible for daddy's execution...no matter what he did to you? Ick. It's a really hard issue.


    I dislike your example.... (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by jerry on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:31:19 AM EST
    "also, who wants to be responsible for daddy's execution" -- it's not just the fathers.  And I am sure that this death penalty was not there for parents but for the strangers....

    One statistic though, my understanding is that regarding the fathers, is that it's far more common for "mom's new boyfriend" to be the person "in the family" harming the kids than anyone on dad's side.

    As a parent, I can certainly understand the desire to in act this revenge on people that would harm children.  But I still think the Supreme Court decision was the correct one, and the moral one, for many reasons.


    In this particular case. . . (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:44:07 AM EST
    the crime was committed by a step father.

    And, when you think about it, child rape is more likely to be committed by a person known to, and with responsibilities towards, the child -- simply because the amount of contact a child has with strangers is limited.

    It might not be the father, but could easily be an uncle or cousin, or a clergyman.


    Oh, why am I not surprised? (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 10:59:48 PM EST
    I guess Obama doesn't want to become the next Michael Dukakis.  He wants to be seen as more macho than thou, not afraid to put a heinous criminal to death.

    Maybe Obama (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:36:04 AM EST
    saw that spot on his "not tough enough on the war on gangs so how will he be tough on the war on terror" video that is on YouTube.

    But wasn't that Dukakis' problem? (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by ineedalife on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:04:34 AM EST
    He took the ride in the tank to remind people he was in the Army. If people see this as an overstatement by Obama to compensate for a weakness, it backfires and re-enforces the underlying concern.

    Siding with the likes of Alito, Scalia, and Thomas sort of undercuts the Supreme Court guilt-trip his supporters lay on undecideds as well. He may decide abortion is a "states-rights" issue as well.


    Remember (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:56:29 AM EST
    that's part of why Clinton had to vote for the Iraq War Resolution.

    Don't worry, Obama wouldn't (3.00 / 2) (#44)
    by MarkL on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:27:53 PM EST
    touch braised endive with a 10 foot pole. He's an arugula and $100/lb. Spanish ham guy, himself.

    Why is the US such a primitive nation? (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by cymro on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:03:14 PM EST
    Killing people in cold blood is murder, and one murder does not justify another. I was always taught that "an eye for an eye" was the logic of the Old Testament and the dark ages, not of enlightened modern cultures. But my teachers were Europeans, not Americans, so what did they know?

    Europeans (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by bocajeff on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:22:17 PM EST
    Between all the killing in WWI and WWII, not to mention genocides (even in the 90's in Yugoslavia), I think the Europeans are really good teachers about enlightenment. I can't wait until they start practicing it.

    Europeans do not have the death penalty (5.00 / 15) (#43)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:27:52 PM EST
    They won't extradite to this country unless death is off the table.  They cannot imagine why we still have it.  European press gives more coverage to our death row and executions than our own press. Not only is the death sentence immoral, it is unjustly applied and very costly.  

    Well said (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:09:07 AM EST
    and true.

    Where does the uninformed anti-European nastiness (5.00 / 4) (#135)
    by Mark Woods on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 03:55:30 AM EST
    come from? If you want to live in a decent society, move to most of Europe or Canada, not the U.S.

    I've lived in both and I know the difference. I guess this is another argument for sending more U.S. students abroad, so they can learn that the death penalty is not considered 'civilized' or moral outside the U.S. borders, except in similarly backward and brutal places, like Iran and Saudi Arabia.


    Anti-European Rant (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by cannondaddy on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:40:28 AM EST
    Rush Limbaugh was ranting on Europe yesterday.  That post was almost a direct quote...

    No... (2.00 / 1) (#157)
    by bocajeff on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:07:40 AM EST
    I hate when one region points to another and says they are unenlightened when their own history (recent) is vile.

    Yes, we have the death penalty and they don't. Okay. Does that make them more enlightened?

    However, Europe in the past century between the world wars, genocide, gulags, etc...isn't the most enlightened either. Is it enlightened to watch Yugoslavia commit genocide and does nothing about it 10 years ago while the United States executes a few people a year for committing murder?


    bocajeff- YES it does make them more enlightened (5.00 / 3) (#181)
    by kenosharick on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:19:26 AM EST
    And your arguments are nonsense. Deliberatly putting your own citizen to death versus committing your nation's soldiers to war in order to stop deaths in another country? Also- if you wat to complain going ack to WWI, what about this nations genocide against Native-Americans and African Americans?

    Yugo is not part of the EU (none / 0) (#229)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:10:15 AM EST
    Infact the EU is someting of a miracle in regards to jurisprudence.  You won't find supra national agreement on things like the DP anywhere else.

    Yes (none / 0) (#228)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:08:17 AM EST
    Yes it does.

    There are practicing it while you type n/t (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by bridget on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:42:07 PM EST
    Oh yeah, especially in Belgium. (none / 0) (#67)
    by MarkL on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:44:21 PM EST
    fwiw My comment is a response to above post: (none / 0) (#79)
    by bridget on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:57:35 PM EST
    "I think the Europeans are really good teachers about enlightenment. I can't wait until they start practicing it."

    Yes, so was mine. (none / 0) (#186)
    by MarkL on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:37:20 AM EST
    Belgium had a notorious child rape/murder ring in the 90s, including policemen.
    Western Civilization is still a good idea.. and only an idea, so far.

    How are WW1 and WW2 related to ... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by cymro on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:51:43 AM EST
    ... capital punishment? You seem to be confused about the subject of this thread.

    enlightenmnet (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by bocajeff on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:10:31 AM EST
    we are talking about enlightenment.

    And actually there is somewhat of a connection, albeit a loose one. After seeing all the devastation during the past century on their own land, their people, etc...I'm sure this has had a tremendous effect on the mindset of most European cultures toward violence, war, crime, etc...


    See, For Example (5.00 / 2) (#168)
    by The Maven on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:52:40 AM EST
    James Sheehan's book released earlier this year, "Where Have All the Soldiers Gone: The transformation of Modern Europe".  While the focus is on the continent's move away from war primarily because of the wars they endured, the same trend can be seen in the distaste for state-sanctioned violence in other forms.

    the religeous wars of past (5.00 / 4) (#174)
    by hellothere on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:00:05 AM EST
    centuries in europe has also resulted in today's governments for the most part in europe being rational and separate from religeous institutions.

    The enlightenment (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:28:26 AM EST
    is the work of, Europeans mainly.

    eff off (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:26:32 AM EST
    As if the US isn't built on a few displaced peoples and conquests.

    That the death penalty exists in the US is bad enough.


    Does someone think the death penalty (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:04:40 PM EST
    provides a "closure" or some kind of end to the suffering of the victim of rape as a child? I think it's time our Change and Hope candidate comes up with a program that would actually help the children.

    Even survivoring family members of a murder victim often state they got no "closure" from the death of the murderer, though they had thought they would have.

    Pure vengeance (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by riddlerandy on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:46:39 PM EST
    Which would explain that sense (none / 0) (#71)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:49:56 PM EST
    they didn't get what they wanted from it.

    My Less Than Thorough Research Says.... (5.00 / 6) (#76)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:52:42 PM EST
    Having never been in the situation I could never say for sure, but I suspect the quest for death by a victim's family puts off the actual mourning period while their lives become totally enmeshed in vindictiveness. From what I gather, if the execution ever takes place, emotionally they find themselves right back where they were the day of the crime.

    They seek closure, but the result leads to...now what?


    Bingo (5.00 / 4) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:17:19 AM EST
    I think you have it exactly right.

    A branch of my family I'm not close to quite a few years ago found itself in the center of one of those "missing white women" frenzies when their 20-something daughter disappeared.  A year or so later, a body was found and identified as hers.

    A completely unreliable jailhouse snitch reported another inmate had confessed the crime to him, and although the investigators were never able to turn up a shred of evidence he had anything to do with it, the family zeroed in on this guy and has been obsessed with him ever since.

    It's totally understandable emotionally, but I've always thought their focus on this man in many ways served as kind of a welcome distraction and certainly prevented them from having a "healthy" grieving process and moving on, to the extent you can ever move on when even a grown child is murdered.

    Well, easy for me to say.  It's never happened to me.  But I suspect the folks who aren't able to work through this kind of horror to some kind of "closure" would be unable to do so whether the perpetrator is put to death or not.


    From personal experience (5.00 / 4) (#155)
    by stxabuela on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:48:59 AM EST
    15 years ago, a close friend's only child was murdered in a convenience store robbery.  No question of the killer--it was recorded by the surveillance camera.

    That was the only trial I ever attended from beginning to end.  This was in TX, so it was a capital murder trial.  The killer was sentenced to death (and has since been executed.)  I was already ambivalent about the death penalty, but right after I heard the sentence, I realized that what I thought would be justice was actually revenge.  We just took someone else's son away from them.  

    I am now firmly opposed to the death penalty in all cases.  Unfortunately, I understand why Obama would release a statement in support of it.  Most Americans are in favor of the death penalty.    


    similar experience (5.00 / 5) (#163)
    by NJDem on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:20:35 AM EST
    (though not personal like your--sorry to read that horrible story)

    I was always back and forth about capital punish--understanding both sides.  But on the day of Timothy McVeigh execution, they showed the families of those wanting the execution--and they were still so angry and just thirsting for blood.  

    Then they showed the much smaller group of those that lost loved-ones in the bombing, but were against capital punishment, even for McVeigh.  Well, those people were calm, collected, and generally seemed much more at peace with their loss.  

    That's when I knew I was against the death penalty (though frankly I have no problem with a family personally seeking revenge--just not the government doing it).  


    Going by (5.00 / 4) (#147)
    by Nadai on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:07:44 AM EST
    the two people I've known who were murdered, "closure" is a myth.  People go on.  They don't get over it.

    Getting the person who did it - whether that means jailing or executing or whatever - can make the survivors feel better, but it isn't closure.  It's just a very small Band-Aid pasted over a very large wound.


    this idea of closure rings false with me. (none / 0) (#175)
    by hellothere on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:01:42 AM EST
    i have to say that i haven't been in that situation and have often wondered just how i would feel if i were the relative or friend of someone killed under those circumstances.

    Again, just personal experience (5.00 / 1) (#220)
    by stxabuela on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:56:44 AM EST
    Closure can only come from within.  I already knew that, but it took some time and a lot of determination to convince my gut to let go of the anger.  

    JavaCityPal, you are arguing ... (none / 0) (#194)
    by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:16:14 AM EST
    ... for a death penalty for child rape, apparently, based upon some type of "closure" for the victim?

    As much as I'm against the death penalty, and opposed to Obama's views on it, at least his statement was in line with your silly argument.

    Will you say anything to see Obama not get elected?


    I never expected Obama to run as the (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:09:08 PM EST
    anti-death penalty candidate. Indeed, it might be political suicide for him to. I am ambivalent on the subject myself. If ever there were a situation where it seems applicable, child rape would be one. Of course, there are sticking points. It would obviously be wrong to execute a 25 year old for having sex with a 17 year old. I would be wary of pushing this too far.

    As a matter of constitutional law, well, I'm not competent to address that.  

    The Death Penalty is barbaric (5.00 / 10) (#82)
    by bridget on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:00:56 AM EST
    it is immoral

    and should be abolished.

    Law has nothing to do with it.


    That's an opinion I respect (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:03:05 AM EST
    and that I'm not far from. My point is that, if you're going to have a death penalty, it's hard for me to see how a crime as heinous as child rape could be excluded.

    it's excluded (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:10:31 AM EST
    only if no death occurs. It's not excluded if the victim dies.

    Understood (none / 0) (#89)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:12:06 AM EST
    I'm unconvinced that's the right distinction, if we're going to have a death penalty.

    If justice were perfect (4.75 / 8) (#95)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:23:26 AM EST
    at establishing the truth, I'd honestly rather see the DP for child rape than for murder.

    I think it's bad for our souls to kill people through the state, so I'm agin' the DP across the board.

    But it sure would be easier to win the DP argument if we actually had a "life without parole" option that really meant what it said.  Actual child rapists (not, as you say, a 17-year-old having sex with a 16-year-old girlfriend and that sort of thing) are essentially incurable and need to be permanently separated from the rest of society.  

    I'd be perfectly happy to pay for them to live in luxury for the rest of their lives as long as it was in inescapable and permanent confinement from the rest of us.  It is, IMHO, the absolute vilest of crimes one human being can do to another.


    See, I disagree with the DP for child rape... (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:40:21 AM EST
    ...for a host of policy reasons. And I oppose the DP across the board for the reason you mentioned.  However, I also believe that, contrary to popular opinion, not all child rapists are incurable recidivists.  I've worked on cases where the individuals involved suffered from addictions to narcotics or alcohol, had become sexually compulsive and took advantage of children, but otherwise lacked any history of child sexual abuse.  Additionally, of course, there have been plenty of cases involving people who repeatedly engaged in such acts, with or without compulsive sexual disorders.

     In any event, most of the defendants you refer to will not see the light of day, with the sentencing reforms in place now.  In addition to criminal sentencing, they also face civil commitment as sexually violent predators.  


    I'm talking (5.00 / 2) (#127)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:25:07 AM EST
    pre-pubscent child rape.  To my knowledge, nobody does that who isn't permanently fixated sexually on children, not because they've been drinking or doing drugs or any other excuse, although those things may help to remove inhibitions on acting out.

    That is why taking it off the table (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:59:31 AM EST
    altogether is the only answer, IMO. No one has the right to decide who deserves to die.

    he's a pragmatist. (none / 0) (#203)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:30:36 AM EST
    Not much of an idealist. i can't blame him for it. You run with the public you have not the public you'd like to have.

    You are off-topic, Riddler (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:09:14 PM EST
    this is not about Hillary. You are violating the site rules.

    I've deleted three of his comments (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:15:00 PM EST
    in this thread about Hillary. One more and he's banned.

    Hillary has nothing to do with this thread. She is not our nominee. Her position on the case, if she had one, is irrelevant.

    Off topic comments will be deleted. The topic is today's ruling and Barack Obama's reaction to it.


    OH, I;m banned, sorry Jeralyn (none / 0) (#31)
    by riddlerandy on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:15:41 PM EST
    not yet (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:26:47 PM EST
    But stick to the topic or you will be. This has nothing to do with Hillary and if you keep going off topic you will be banned.

    If it's about what I think it's about (none / 0) (#45)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:28:08 PM EST
    Ben Masel's comment below is disgusting.

    And off topic.


    I just deleted (none / 0) (#59)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:38:00 PM EST
    Ben's comment. It was off topic and a gratuitous slam at a different politician, having nothing to do with today's decision or Obama's statement about it.

    Understood, mostly. (none / 0) (#92)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:22:43 AM EST
    Having been inside the judicial system (5.00 / 13) (#18)
    by differnet on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:10:47 PM EST
    I cannot support the death penalty.  Occassionally an innocent person is convicted.  More often, the death penalty is applied unfairly.  If you have enough money, you will never see the death penalty.  I find it very confusing that a black man is supporting the death penalty, when black men are the ones that most often get the unfairly weighted judgement of justice.

    Also, this is a man who has wrapped himself in Christianity (I consider a person who has to wear their faith publically to be dangerous.  Christ himself said to beware of this type of righteousness).  I don't understand how anyone of the Christian faith can endorse the death penalty.  In full disclosure, I am a practicing Christian.  I find the death penalty to be completely at odds with the doctrines of my faith.  

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. (5.00 / 5) (#121)
    by cymro on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:06:52 AM EST
    That's one "yes" for every sentence I agreed with in your response.

    In fact, you scored a perfect 10 on my scale.


    And in this particular case... (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by ineedalife on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:16:15 AM EST
    it is an issue. If the perp had been white would the death penalty had even been considered?

    Christ had his opportunity to ... (none / 0) (#204)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:32:23 AM EST
    decry capital punishment and he failed to make a talking point out of it. What a flip flopper he'd be if his religion was to suddenly...woooops.

    When voters are given a choice (5.00 / 10) (#20)
    by Pacific John on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:12:30 PM EST
    ... between voting for a McCain, or a Democrat who acts like a McCain, they'll vote for the McCain every time."

    What I can't square is that the junior Senator from Illinois is from a state where the Republican governor placed a moratorium on executions because of the error rate.

    I guess Sen. Obama does not think anyone could ever be falsely convicted of child rape.

    in one of the posts I linked (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:30:34 PM EST
    I praised his work for the innocent in Illinois. He apparently didn't read that long section of today's opinion explaining how child rape cases can exacerbate the chance of an innocent being executed due to the problems with child testimony.

    But again, the primary issue is more that we don't put people to death for crimes where no death occurs. It violates the 8th Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment and is contrary to the evolving standards of decency in a civilized society.


    Also wasn't it brought up that (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Rhouse on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:25:21 AM EST
    asking a child to possibly be responsible for the death of a family member ( in this case a step-father ) is also unrealistic and may prove too much for the child to handle?

    It happens (none / 0) (#128)
    by Rojas on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:36:24 AM EST
    I feel the same way (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:14:45 PM EST
    Very distressing. Hope and Change may turn into a nightmare.  I am shocked.

    I support the maximum possible (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by MarkL on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:15:46 PM EST
    penalties for pandering on DP issues.
    What would that mean in this case.. Go nader?

    Death Pandering (none / 0) (#56)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:36:29 PM EST
    Pandering by politicians on death penalty issues is so common I have come to expect it. I now try to translate exactly who they are trying to speak to with their tough on crime pro death penalty stances. In this case McCain looks to be pandering to his base while Obama is pandering to the middle.

    Neither of them could ever live up to the standard set by Bush in Texas though. When it comes to death, Bush is in a league of his own. On the topic of capital punishment, questioning the Supreme Court is fluff for votes; as a Governor, you can kill for votes.


    Bush isn't running for reelection (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:40:46 PM EST
    The candidates are Obama and McCain. Both had disappointing but predictable responses today.

    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:05:10 AM EST
    I totally agree, but I have come to expect it as part of the tough on crime pandering approach presented by all politicians when they run for office. Don't like it, but we are still years away from a majority being against capital punishment. Until then, pandering to the majority for their vote will be the standard.

    Bob Graham was the first DEM I despised when he restarted capital punishment in Florida. Age has made me realize (but not accept) that I'm still in the minority with my anti-capital punishment perspective, and politicians are politicians.


    As a rape victim and as a person who was sexually (5.00 / 15) (#33)
    by differnet on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:16:41 PM EST
    molested as a child, I wanted to add that in some cases this would actually harm the child more.  I'm so tired of hearing people say things like "her life is ruined" after a rape.  As long as the victim is alive, their life is not ruined.  It is changed dramatically, but it is not ruined.  With the right support, rape can become a source of emotional strength. When the worse thing that can be done to you happens and you are still alive, what is there left to fear?  I've spoken with dozens of other rapes and childhood sexual molestation/assualt/incest suvivors.  I treat each one as if they have won a war.  They are still here.  They survived.  The death penalty is a sop to those who didn't do enough BEFORE it happened.  It's about their guilt and not really about helping the victim.

    I can't tell if you are being (5.00 / 8) (#55)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:35:00 PM EST
    sincere, but I will note the Court opinion today referenced the research finding that having a death penalty for child rape increases the likelihood the child will be killed to ensure the child cannot later be a witness against the offender. It also referenced the research showing that family members would be less likely to report another family member who raped a child if they thought the offending relative could be executed.

    See the opinion -- and my prior post on this at 5280 quoting the experts.


    But you know, Obama, like the general public, (5.00 / 7) (#60)
    by differnet on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:39:04 PM EST
    doesn't seem to like being confused by facts.  There are few child rapes that are committed by strangers.  Most children are raped by relatives and family friends.  Executing that uncle or cousin who raped you will most likelycause additional trauma for the child.  The Supreme Court made the right call this time.  

    I have no doubt about those findings (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by riddlerandy on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:41:43 PM EST
    but I am not sure what they have to do with whether the death penalty for this crime is cruel and unusual under the Constitution.  

    I agree with the conclusion, but think these types of policy discussion dont add much to the constitutional analysis.


    did you read the opinion? (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:51:54 PM EST
    the Supreme Court addressed them.

    Yes, but... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:20:50 AM EST
    Whatever balance the legislature
    strikes, however, uncertainty on the point makes the
    argument for the penalty less compelling than for homicide

     I am not sure I agree.  We're now in a situation where life without the possibility of parole is not an eighth amendment violation for possessing a lot of cocaine with intent, but the death penalty is per se unavailable for the rape of a child, regardless of the age? Regardless of an alternative statutory scheme that would permit the weighing of aggravating and mitigating factors beyond the elements of the offense, unlike the LA statute? And at the same time we're going to reserve the question when it comes to crimes, like treason, etc., against the state?

     I am opposed to the DP for everything, mind you, but whether the Court got this particular case right...I dunno.  A more limited decision may have been appropriate. Or, alternatively, a decision that just came out and said "death is different, all the time...don't sweat, drug kingpins, kidnappers and traitors."  

     This just seems a little muddy.


    The fact that the victim is NOT dead is a major (4.76 / 13) (#80)
    by differnet on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:58:18 PM EST
    factor in the "cruel and unusual" qualification for the death penalty.  The problem with applying this punishment to rape is that it assumes that the victime just might as well be dead.  It implies that rape makes the victim unredeemable.  It's a hold-over from the paternalistic and chattle treatment of a virginity as property.  A rape victim was "ruined" and no one would ever consider marrying her.  She was looked at as both and object of pity, but also as one of scorn.  

    Rape is NOT death.  Rape is not even soul-death.  It's a horrible, horrible thing that can happen to a person, but it is not death.  


    Good point (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by massdem on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:35:04 AM EST
    My first thought upon hearing this decision was that it if an offender did rape a child, and he knew he was then eligible for the death penalty, wouldn't that be an incentive to kill her to keep her from testifying against him later?  

    I really hope (none / 0) (#140)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:19:27 AM EST
    that the Supreme Court did not use that research to form their opinion because it has no bearing on whether these laws are Constitutional or not.

    That's a good point. (none / 0) (#206)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:35:14 AM EST
    A draconian punishment for certain crimes may on balance increase the level of violence.

    Thank you!! (none / 0) (#47)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:29:50 PM EST
    Will this man stand firm on anything? (5.00 / 7) (#36)
    by FemB4dem on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:18:03 PM EST
    Obama from "The Audacity of Hope" in 2006 -- "I believe there are some crimes--mass murder, the rape and murder of a child--so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."

    Obama today -- "I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for most egregious of crimes. I think that the rape of a small child, six or eight years old is a heinous crime, and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances, the death penalty is at least potentially applicable."

    Uh huh.  So tell me again why we can trust him on anything he says?

    It's bad enough the Democratic nominee is for the death penalty in any circumstances, but that's where we find ourselves these days.  But to come out for it when no one has died from the crime, when such a statement is totally unnecessary and contrary to a position you took earlier?  What is this about, exactly -- is he just trying to prove he's not Mr. "Most Liberal Senator?" Ugh.

    Expression of (5.00 / 4) (#118)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:00:13 AM EST
    community outrage?  Is that what this should be about?

    I reject that idea utterly.  "Outrage" should not be on any liberal/progressive's list of justifications for the DP or anything else, for that matter.



    that is what bothers me so often when (none / 0) (#182)
    by hellothere on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:22:00 AM EST
    i see politicans and even shows on tv regarding the death penalty. i am not an attorney here but aren't the laws supposed to be a barrier to the emotional reactions of the public and or even family and friends?

    No, (2.00 / 1) (#187)
    by massdem on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:37:49 AM EST
    not the audacity of hope - it's the audacity of grope (for whatever's politically expedient at the time).

    Fembrdem, if that is your ... (none / 0) (#192)
    by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:11:26 AM EST
    ... real name, ;), I disagree with Obama's stance on the death penalty, but you are really reaching for something to complain about with that silly argument.

    Are you saying that Obama believed in "A" and "B";

    Then, he gave a statement only about "B" (because "A" was not applicable);

    And the statement about "B" was congruent with what he said before;

    Therefore, he is flip-flopping?

    That's a huge reach. Will you say anything to see Obama not get elected?  

    You can bet that John McCain is going to install the types of justices in the Supreme Court, like Scalia, who will impose the death penalty for as many crimes as possible, who will reverse Roe v. Wade, and who will put a gun in the pocket of every American.


    it'll be interesting to see how obama's comments (none / 0) (#208)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:38:11 AM EST
    poll.  He's a fairly clever and sharp operator.

    Illinois (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:25:09 PM EST
    I'm from Illinois and after all the mess we had over innocent people on Death Row, former Gov. Ryan imposed a moritorium on capital punishment. Obama was in our state Congress at the time and I didn't hear any complaints from him about it then. I have a sick feeling in my stomach that we "progressive's" are progressing the wrong way.

    Absolutely (none / 0) (#58)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:37:57 PM EST
    It was the Governor of Il, not Obama.  His record as far as criminal justice was all over the place and he, in fact, voted over and over again to increase mandatory sentences.  Despite claiming credit for the legislation for videotaping interrogations, he is a defense attorney's nightmare.  This was his an excerpt of his voting record in IL:

    In an August 19, 2004 entry on Obama's website he bragged about being tough on drugs:
    During 8 years in the state senate, Senator Obama has repeatedly voted for tougher penalties for drug offenders. [HB 3387, 5/13/03; P.A. 93-0546; SB 1793, 3/21/03; P.A. 93-0223; HB 2347, 5/6/99; P.A. 91-0336; HB 3170, 5/7/98; P.A. 90-0674; HB 1278, 5/14/99; P.A. 91-0403; SB 0105, 3/23/99; P.A. 91-0263; HB 2843, 5/20/03; P.A. 93-0596; 93rd GA, SB 2447, 3/25/04; P.A. 93-0884; SB 1578, 3/24/03; P.A. 93-0297; SB1028, 4/2/98; SB 1028, 5/19/98, SC HA1,4; P.A. 90-0775; HB 0070, 5/16/97; P.A. 90-0382; HB 2844, 5/13/03; P.A. 93-0340; HB 3073, 4/4/00; P.A. 91-0802; HB 0252, 5/7/99; P.A. 91-0366; HB 5652, 5/9/02; SB 1332, 2/24/00; P.A. 91-0899; HB 4245, 5/7/02; P.A. 92-0698; SB 0014, 5/20/97, SC HA1; P.A. 90-0397; SB 0003, 4/6/01; HB 2015, 5/9/97; P.A. 90-0164; SB 1011, 4/5/01; SB 1224, 3/24/98; HB 2030, 5/15/97; P.A. 90-0557]

    He also voted "present" for a bill that allowed trying children, age 15, as adults, subjecting them to adult prison.

    To me, Obama is a right winger on criminal law.


    he's not a right winger (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:43:49 PM EST
    but he's not a progressive either. He did do excellent work for innocent in Illinois. But constitutional rights must be afforded to everyone, not just the innocent.

    For a specific and detailed analyis of Obama's views on defendant's rights, it's all laid out here -- with sources.


    thanks for the link (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by befuddledvoter on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:38:34 AM EST
    That is certainly the best synopsis I have seen of Obama's many positions on criminal justice.  

    Obama was never a progressive (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by stefystef on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:59:44 AM EST
    and there are more articles talking about Obama moving to the center.

    The progressive tried to co-opt his campaign and Obama used them to get him through the primaries.  Now, Obama's flipping to make the money guys happy and the so-called progressive left is going to have to suck it up.

    Like they tell Hillary supporters,  I'm telling the disappointed Obama followers- get over it and fall in line.  


    he's not much of left winger (none / 0) (#209)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:39:42 AM EST
    he will not go to the end on any big cause.

    As the Democratic (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:51:53 PM EST
    primaries drew to a close, I think we all realized that we had seen the Death of Unity.

    With all the flip flopping and pandering of the last week or two (has a candidate ever performed such acrobatics in such a short period of time? Isn't this the quadruple axle of political turn arounds?), shouldn't we now declare the Death of Change as well?

    Have the media ever let them do it so much? (none / 0) (#211)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:40:59 AM EST
    The rest if the Dem field would have been flayed for similar acrobatic performances.

    What this reminds me of (5.00 / 10) (#93)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:23:02 AM EST
    This will be a long comment.

    I hope it doesn't appear too off topic.

    In some ways this is about how people deal with disagreement and political expedience, and such.  And as much as I really don't want to do this, I will.

    First of all, I don't think Obama is endorsing the death penalty on any particular level.  What he's doing is BUYING A RIGHT WING FRAME on a situation that would never, in all liklihood exist, and he's doing that for the soul purpose of inoculating himself against the accusation that he's soft on, of all things, child rape.

    That is my reaction to his statement on this issue.  Hopefully that keeps this on topic.

    But now I will go on a tangent and address the thing that's happening here in these threads.

    What this reminds me of is one of Clinton's answers on torture.  She was asked, if one could be absolutely sure that crucial information could be obtained that would save 1000s of lives, would she condone torture?  And, to address that "narrow" (note Obama uses the same word) circumstance, instead of giving a long answer about how such a situation would never exist, she said "yes."  Insofar as that hypothetical situation would exist.

    This inoculates her against the accusation that she's soft on terrorism.  

    So guess how the Obama movement responded on that answer?  The spread the lie that Clinton is pro-torture.

    This is why I think the Obamablogs and the movement that Obama embraced is a movement of lies.

    This is why I have continued to keep going back to this theme.  And I would contrast that with what we see here.  If TL, and the good people who participate at TL were TRULY obamablog counterparts, they would not merely be expressing dissappointment and questioning Obama's resolve.

    If TL patron's were truly Obamablog counterparts, TL regulars would be pushing the lie, right here and now, that Obama is PRO-DEATH PENALTY in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

    So Obama supporters should take a chill pill on this outrage they're manufacturing about how people are too unfair to Obama.

    Besides, given that he did SELL himself as something different, as transformational, so expressing dissappointment, observing that he is NO DIFFERENT AT ALL seems all the more appropriate.  All the more deserving.

    Personally, speaking only for myself, as far as I understand politics and wedge issues, issues we still all care about, I have no problem with Obama's statement today.

    Why I didn't want to do this is because while I have no problem with the statement Obama made today, because I know his campaign, the movement itself spent so much time lying about Clinton, what would make me happy, what I think Obama deserves is for someone to take the statement he made above:

    "I disagree with the decision. I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for most egregious of crimes."

    And do this with it:

    "I disagree with the decision. I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied ..... for ....crimes."

    That would be giving back to the Obama movement what it has given the world.

    A despicable way of talking about politics and the politicians we hope to support.

    yeah it' siilly innit? (none / 0) (#212)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:42:17 AM EST
    Senator are you soft on child rape?

    Why no I think it should apply...


    Why is Obama pandering so hard (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by frankly0 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:23:05 AM EST
    on this issue as well as others, and being so eager to throw out even basic, minimal progressive beliefs -- principles that even a very conservative SC feel must guide their decisions?

    Because, I think, he knows he's in the fight of his life for the Presidency -- a contest that should have been a cakewalk for a Democrat in this election cycle, but which is clearly going to be a great struggle for Obama.

    Adopting this sort of position is what Obama feels he must do because of the great damage that has been inflicted on his image over Wright, Bittergate, etc.

    He knows how much he is regarded as a radical left elitist. This is an attempt to pull his image in the other direction.

    And that's how an Obama Presidency is likely to shape up as well. He will take positions that compensate for his poor image.

    Suffice it to say, those will not be positions progressives will admire.

    I anticipate wild tacking back and forth for Obama for the remainder of his campaign, and throughout his Presidency, should that ever come to pass.

    One way to think of it: (5.00 / 7) (#97)
    by frankly0 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:26:52 AM EST
    if Obama had more personal appeal to voters across the spectrum, he could take more consistently progressive positions and retain his viability as a political leader.

    Because he lacks that appeal with broad swaths of the American electorate, he's going to have to throw all manner of principles (and people) under the bus just to keep his head above water. (Metaphors are more fun when mixed).


    Nail on the head (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:09:47 AM EST
    you just hit.  I think that's exactly right.  The appeal that he's accumulated is there precisely because from the beginning, he very calculatedly decided not to run on actual issues and values, but simply his own personal magnificence.

    I think it's very clear this was the deliberate, thought-out strategy from the very beginning of his candidacy.


    Yeah, (5.00 / 6) (#188)
    by frankly0 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:38:40 AM EST
    I think you're certainly right that Obama's idea was to run his campaign on personality.

    What I don't think he and his campaign have come to realize is just how limited in appeal his personality really is.

    Certainly there are millions of Democrats -- not to mention Independents and Republicans -- who find him distastefully cold and superior in attitude.

    This shortfall in personal appeal gives his pandering on issues of policy special urgency.


    Iowans are geniuses (none / 0) (#213)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:43:44 AM EST
    yes they are.

    I just deleted another comment (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:01:05 AM EST
    asking about Hillary's position on this ruling. That is irrelevant to this thread which is about the decision and Obama's response to it. Once again, off topic comments will be deleted.

    You (5.00 / 2) (#151)
    by Nadai on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:25:04 AM EST
    really have my sympathy for all this, Jeralyn.  Moderating these threads must take up an enormous amount of your time and energy.  Thank you for doing it; the comment threads here are so much better for it.

    hey jer, they are on Auto pilot (5.00 / 1) (#215)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:46:24 AM EST
    I'm guilty from time to time myself of going off without knowing i'm doing it. , but the Obama fans don't realize they have to keep the leftwing happy too.

    Seriously what does Hillary have to do with this?


    WSWS on Obama's attack on Supreme Court decision (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by Andreas on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:37:04 AM EST
    The WSWS writes:

    In an action that combines cynical political opportunism and outright reaction, Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, has publicly denounced Wednesday's decision by the US Supreme Court outlawing the execution of people convicted of child rape. ...

    Obama's rush to embrace the right-wing minority on the Supreme Court is a clear demonstration of his political trajectory. Having become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee--and given the overwhelming popular hostility to the Bush administration and the Republican Party, in a strong position to win the White House--he is moving rapidly to the right, seeking to demonstrate his reliability and fitness to govern from the standpoint of the financial aristocracy that really rules America.

    In this context, the most pernicious role is played by those who bolster illusions in the "progressive" character of Obama and Democratic Party, even as their right-wing orientation is openly displayed.

    Obama attacks US Supreme Court decision barring death penalty for child rape
    By Patrick Martin, 26 June 2008

    Ha! WSWS... (3.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 02:02:46 AM EST
    has the audacity to say this?

    he is moving rapidly to the right, seeking to demonstrate his reliability and fitness to govern from the standpoint of the financial aristocracy that really rules America.

     The "financial aristocracy" that rules America, i.e., monied interests and their lobbyists, are not primarily concerned with this issue, me thinks.  The socialist desire to transform everything into a class warfare issue is bewildering.  I wonder what they thought of his SF "bittergate" episode?


    This from the cweative cwass? (5.00 / 1) (#216)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:47:52 AM EST
    From the DNC pick?

    On "bittergate" (none / 0) (#134)
    by Andreas on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 03:05:39 AM EST
    Alec82 wrote:

    "The socialist desire to transform everything into a class warfare issue is bewildering.  I wonder what they thought of his SF "bittergate" episode?"

    The Obama "mistake": Breaking the taboo on discussing class in America
    By Patrick Martin, 17 April 2008

    US media, Clinton assail Obama for "bitter" truth
    By Patrick Martin, 14 April 2008


    actually jeralyn, (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by cpinva on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 02:42:41 AM EST
    Hillary has nothing to do with this thread. She is not our nominee. Her position on the case, if she had one, is irrelevant.

    neither is sen. obama, unless august has come and gone, and i was in a coma for the month.

    apparently sen. obama missed that class in law school, the one where they discussed that quaint document known as the "constitution", and the even quainter "bill of rights". i'm sure he was thinking deep thoughts elsewhere at the time.

    see, he didn't hear about the reason the bill of rights exists: to protect the minority from the whims of the majority, not the other way around. had he actually bothered to attend the lectures, he'd know this and, while anguished, would have realized the constitutional correctness of the opinion.

    he would also realize that it's not the state's job to provide "closure" for anyone, it's the individual's job to do that for themselves. that isn't the purpose of our criminal justice system, contrary to popular (and wrong) belief.

    for myself, as a father, i'd want 10 minutes alone in a room with the perp, to "chat". a completely normal response, or at least let me push the button. again, not the state's job to make me feel better or get revenge.

    i'd be curious to know what other, non-homicidal crimes, sen. obama feels are also worthy of the death penalty?

    Obama is this today (5.00 / 5) (#136)
    by Grace on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 04:17:13 AM EST
    and he'll be something else tomorrow.  

    Tomorrow he'll agree with the Supreme Court completely, but on Friday he'll disagree again.  

    Honestly, Hillary is supporting this person?  Really?  I mean, if she hadn't run against him, would she really be putting herself out to support him?  

    He appears to have no real principles!  That really bothers me!  Doesn't it bother other people too?  Am I the only person who thinks it's immoral to elect someone without a soul?  Without strong beliefs?  I WANT TO ELECT SOMEONE WITH SOME KIND OF A BELIEF SYSTEM!!!!!!    Is that so crazy?  

    Seriously, Obama strikes me as a scary politician because he never seems to draw the line anywhere.  He sways back and forth.  He's against this; no, he's for it.  I can't believe Americans (who are supposed to be educated) are going to fall for this.  It only shows a lot of lessons from history have never been learned.  

    The media are letting him do it. (5.00 / 1) (#217)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:49:24 AM EST
    If they called him out for his contradictions once or twice and really beat him up, they'd make him think about being consistent.  He's testing just how far he's allowed to go.

    He sounds just like McCain (5.00 / 3) (#138)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:32:22 AM EST
    Yes, he does. He sounds like John McCain.

    Before his disgraceful turnarounds on public finance, FISA and now this - there was ample evidence of his lack of commitment to progressive values. Yet it made no difference to any of the progressive bloggers. WHAT WAS THEIR AGENDA?  Was it just to destroy Hillary Clinton?

    I think it is time, if there is still time, for people who have wholeheartedly endorsed Obama to withdraw their endorsements until he begins to acknowledge their progressive values.

    He is treating us like s-it.

    Obama doesn't need to fight for your (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by Grace on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:14:56 AM EST
    vote.  There is no one else for you to vote for, is there?  

    You're stuck.  You will have to vote for Obama no matter how much he disgusts you.  (Unless you totally give in like I did and decide to vote for McCain -- just to teach these rat-b*strds a lesson.)  


    There are alternatives. (5.00 / 1) (#230)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:10:19 AM EST
    Saying that we have to vote for Obama, no matter how much he is taking our votes for granted is not the way to go, in my opinion.

    It is the same argument that says that an abused spouse will return to her mate because there is nowhere else for her to go.

    We can insist that Obama make pledges to end the war, to overturn the patriot act, to resist FISA, to make clear his ideas on Iran, Pakistan and Russia.

    If he does not, or cannot, we must confront him with the possibilities of mass protest voting for a third party candidate.

    If Obama were made to realize that he could lose the election if he doesn't start acting like a Democrat - instead of what he now thinks - that we are a bunch of sheep who have nowhere to go but follow him into the mountain in Hamelin - we might get some action.

    Perhaps democrats should reregister as independents.

    We must find a way to apply pressure to Obama now.
    If he stays on his present course, I'm  afraid we will wind up with McCain. Fear of McCain will only carry him so far - and I don't think it will be far enough.

    Then - will we be blaming Nader again?


    Teach Them a Lesson? (none / 0) (#165)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:34:00 AM EST
    And here is where your argument blows away in the wind.

    You're going to teach them a lesson by voting for McCain? The lesson learned by a McCain win would be the Dems need to move even further to the right to win a national election. The only lesson learned by another Republican win is that taking Progressive stands will have you back home the day after election day.

    You may prefer to lose big rather than advance a cause in small increments, but the move towards ending capital punishment remains on a glacially moving timetable. You can count on one hand the Pols that have won an election coming out publicly against capital punishment. It may make you feel better to hear they want to ban capital punishment, but what that usually gets you is about 35-40% of the vote and a trip back to your day job along with an incremental step back rather than forward.

    If you want leaps and bounds, Governors not up for re-election will make the strongest headway on ending capital punishment, not anyone on a ballot....not yet.


    Personally I take the Obama peeps at their word (none / 0) (#218)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:50:27 AM EST
    He's better than NcAcin which isn't saying much.

    Not a 21st century candidate (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by Redshoes on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:33:21 AM EST
    The 17th century poet, John Donne, knew that each death diminishes our humanity.  That may be why as societies evolve (or as the SC noted "matures") that many have abandoned the notion that state-condoned killing and executions constitute justice.

    It would be refreshing if our candidate would lead instant of following.

    "DEATH be not proud, ...
    Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men"  10

    Ah eye for an eye (5.00 / 5) (#154)
    by magisterludi on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:48:53 AM EST
    leaves the world blind- Mahatma Gandhi.

    He just gets better all the time doesn't he? (5.00 / 3) (#159)
    by Edger on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:13:34 AM EST
    "Where is the damn middle anyway? - I need to be president - I'm so close I can taste it"

    Just to be clear... (5.00 / 4) (#160)
    by Mike H on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:16:48 AM EST
    This is one more indication -- among many -- that Obama is not, by any stretch, a progressive.

    on to the specifics (5.00 / 4) (#164)
    by kimsaw on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:29:18 AM EST
    What are the specifics in those narrowly defined circumstances? As an answer we get swallowed in the rhetorical fog of Obama. Is age the criteria? Is the rape of a 6 or 8 yr. old  more heinous than that of a 12 yr old or 24 yr old. Are we even going to accept the implied defense that a 12yr or 24 yr. old may have "asked for it" or are in some way responsible for their own victim hood? How do you deal with a female teacher who seduces a 12 year old boy? Its rape, should the death penalty apply or is it less heinous if the victim is a boy who's a pre-teen with hormones raging? Do we let the states decide or send a national message? Should we let the degree of anger generated in the community prevail over the conscience of law. If so, why don't we offer vigilantism as part of accepted law enforcement?

    This whole review ferments a "vengeance is mine" mentality used as a political ploy, generated from emotionality rather than analysis of a constitutional issue.

    Obama's stance on the DP is directly related to his voting constituencies. He's opposed to the DP in gang circumstances while serving the Southside of Chicago. Now he accepts the DP for child rapists in the general to garnish the middle right closer to McCain, to siphon off those Republicans he needs to win.

    Can someone tell me what "change" looks like? I don't want to miss it when it gets here?

    I mentioned this in another thread (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by stefystef on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:42:31 AM EST
    but I think many Obama followers would be surprised that Obama is not against the death penalty.  

    What also surprises me is that Obama followers are starting to see Obama for what he really is- a politician, not a savior.

    I think the magic mushrooms might be waring off.

    Anti-death penalty used to be a core (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:55:46 AM EST
    Dem position, as I recall.  I have hated the erosion of that stance over the years. Obama must sincerely agree with the decision, or else, as you say, he could have easily made a less definitive statement.

    We just got another good clue about the kind of justices he will appoint.

    Wince. (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:58:00 AM EST
    Not that I am surprised.

    As I understand it, the case (5.00 / 4) (#176)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:03:37 AM EST
    before the Court presented them with facts that should have had any reasonable person hesitating to okay the use of the death penalty in child-rape cases.  For one, the child involved told two very different accounts of what happened, initially saying that it had been two boys who raped her.  She stuck to that version, and at one point in an interview with the child psychologist or social worker, even said that she knew the police wanted her to blame her stepfather.  Later, she did implicate the stepfather, who was subsequently convicted.

    No one is saying that child rape is not a heinous crime - I think we can all agree that it is.  But, as in many cases involving children, the testimony is not always reliable.  Further, it is believed that many, many cases of child rape go unreported precisely because it often involves someone close to the family, and the possibility of the death penalty on conviction could ensure that more of these cases will go unreported.  That hardly seems like justice for anyone.

    What bothers me about Obama's comments is that they don't appear to have been made by someone with legal education and training, and they especially do not seem to have been made by someone who teaches others about constitutional law.  His willingness to take what I see as the easy way out of complicated issues, and to abandon the overarching idea that the Constitution takes precedence over his individual views, bothers me a lot and once again makes me wonder if he holds any beliefs he is willing to stand up for.  The answer to "is nothing sacred?" appears more and more to be "No."

    But the law and order crowd will love it, and this is about votes, so we really shouldn't be wasting our time worrying about whether there will be anything left of the Constitution.

    We are such idiots.

    Once again... (none / 0) (#214)
    by sj on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:45:24 AM EST
    ...what Anne says

    What bothers me about Obama's comments is that they don't appear to have been made by someone with legal education and training, and they especially do not seem to have been made by someone who teaches others about constitutional law.  His willingness to take what I see as the easy way out of complicated issues, and to abandon the overarching idea that the Constitution takes precedence over his individual views, bothers me a lot...

    He sounds just like John McCain (5.00 / 2) (#180)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:14:15 AM EST
    you are starting to sound like me.

    Obama, McCain and Clinton ... (5.00 / 0) (#189)
    by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:55:46 AM EST
    ... are all wrong on the death penalty. Obama and to a lesser degree Clinton would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would be much more likely than McCain appointees to outlaw the death penalty.

    As the rash of recent 5-4 Supreme Court decisions indicate, our future hangs in the balance, whether it is gun control, the death penalty or choice.

    Why would Obama appoint ... (5.00 / 2) (#210)
    by Inky on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:40:37 AM EST
    justices who would outlaw the death penalty when he does not oppose the death penalty himself, and in fact, as his disagreement with yesterday's ruling shows, is to the right of the present Supreme Court on the issue of how broadly the death penalty should be applied?

    Now matter how you try to spin it, Obama just gave progressives one less reason to vote for him in November.


    there is zero support (5.00 / 1) (#222)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:01:02 AM EST
    for your assertion. I also believe its completely false.

    from a Civil Rights stance, this is disturbing (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by blogtopus on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:25:14 AM EST
    You'd think that the African American population would be up in arms about this, seeing as how a disproportional amount of AAs are on death row. Selective and unfair practices when it comes to prosecuting AAs has led to this; you'd think that Obama would be concerned about supporting the DP when it most likely results in many innocent / unwarranted executions for AAs.

    But I guess the solution is in more fair trials / prosecutions. Where is his platform stance on that?

    Remember (5.00 / 2) (#199)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:26:01 AM EST
    that Obama was tauted by his supporters as a brilliant constitutional law instructor when you read this comment by Jeralyn:

    Obama mischaracterizes today's decision as a state's rights issue. It's not. It's an 8th Amendment issue of cruel and unusual punishment in which the evolving standards of decency of a civilized nation must be taken into account

    The whole "you gotta vote for him because he's got a D next his name" became even more moot today.

    Moot point = D (5.00 / 3) (#205)
    by blogtopus on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:32:40 AM EST
    I agree.

    Is Obama TRYING to flame out before the convention? Or is this some kind of game of chicken, where he aims his car off the cliff and keeps the gas going until someone grabs the wheel?

    If I were into the whole New World Order thing, I would think that Hillary is using mind control on Obama, making him do the absolute worst things so that the party regains its senses in August.

    But it wouldn't work. The party left its marbles at the door a long time ago.


    Maybe he's having (none / 0) (#232)
    by samanthasmom on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:20:57 AM EST
    second thoughts about wanting to be president.

    Liberal? How can anyone think (5.00 / 1) (#221)
    by splashy on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:57:12 AM EST
    Obama is a liberal with this attitude?

    I am amazed at our country that people think it's just fine to kill people like is done here.

    Amazingly barbaric.

    What a "progressive"! (4.66 / 9) (#17)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:10:29 PM EST
    Obama is so disappointing.  The more positions he takes, the less I feel I can suppport him.  I want to vote for the Dem, but he makes it soooo hard.  Why is he even commenting on this??  I am getting really tired of listening to politicians" "analyseis" of US Sup. Ct. opinions. If Obama disagrees with the opinion, wouldn't you expect more depth to his opinion?  He sounds like Joe Blow on the street when suddenly some reporter wants the ordinary guy's position.  Perhaps that is Obama's aim, come to think of it.  Very disappointing.  

    I think Obama should opine less.

    Exactly (5.00 / 3) (#148)
    by ineedalife on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:14:20 AM EST
    There are a million different ways he could have commented on this. He certainly did have to address it, since it is big news. That he chose this particular way to answer should be an eye-opener to all his progressive groupies.

    Wow, some candidates ... (none / 0) (#196)
    by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:23:45 AM EST
    ... can't win for losing with folks like befuddledvoter. Either you don't know where they stand on the issues, and you complain about it, or they are talking too much about the issues.

    I like the fact that I know where Obama stands on the issue, even if it is against my personal beliefs. At least I know he will appoint justices who are more likely to rule the right way when the issue again reaches the Supreme Court. That goes for a host of other very important issues such as choice, gun control, etc.  


    If you are antiwar (none / 0) (#219)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:53:05 AM EST
    you can do or say anything else.

    hey about that withdrawal...when exactly is that happening sir?


    According to Obama, it ... (none / 0) (#223)
    by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:02:00 AM EST
    ... will happen well before the expiration of 100 years. Since we have spent $3,000,000,000,000.00 on the Iraqi War effort so far, that would be a savings to our ecomony of $57 trillion (present day value). Of course, that doesn't take into account McCain getting into the Iran War and the costs and deaths associated with that.

    Funny how supposed Democrats will criticize Obama for coming out on an issue of importance *i.e. interpretation of cruel and unusual), and criticize him because they don't "know" his stance on the issues, even though there are numerous websites, including his own, touting his stances on the issues.

    So, Salo, how do you feel about supposed Democrats who take issue with Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, whether he expounds on an issue or does not? In the eyes of those supposed Democrats, how can Obama win such a Catch 22?  


    For my part (4.50 / 2) (#2)
    by Steve M on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 10:54:30 PM EST
    I happen to agree with Obama 100%.  Frankly, I could easily be persuaded that the Court's decision was correct as a policy matter, just not as a legal one.  I would have voted the other way.

    That said, I think there is a very big difference between Obama's and McCain's statements.  Obama simply disagrees in a respectful way with the Court's decision.  McCain, in typical right-wing fashion, employs a rhetorical assault upon the Court, trying to score political points by delegitimizing the institution.  Independent of the merits of the debate, I simply can't stand it when they do that.

    Obama just as calculating as McCain (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by RustedView on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 10:58:49 PM EST
    Obama is trying to score quick points too.
    He said:
    I think that the rape of a small child, six or eight years old is a heinous crime, and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances, the death penalty is at least potentially applicable. That does not violate our constitution."

    If he actually respected the Court he wouldn't have made a statement that the court repudiated today.  He would have stood up and said, "I respect the Court's position as the final word on the meaning of our Constitution."

    The fact is, the Court is the easy target from left and right because the Court doesn't engage in open politics.  Just once I'd like to see a politician stand up for the Court.


    Here's the key difference in McCain's response (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Newt on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:16:56 PM EST
    Today's Supreme Court ruling is an assault on law enforcement's efforts...

    The faux outrage from McCain's camp is hypocritical and strikingly different from the Democratic camp.


    So Executing People (3.00 / 2) (#37)
    by talex on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:18:55 PM EST
    does not constitute violating our Constitution, nor does legalizing spying on people violate or change our Constitution? What next from this, cough, champion of the Left, er, or would that be Right?

    For me this is just another reason not to vote for Obama. As Jeralyn said: "He sounds just like John McCain".

    The death penalty does not stop heinous crimes. It doesn't stop sickos. What it does do as we have found out is kill innocent people. And we all know that in child cases the deck is stacked to convict someone, anyone - even with thin evidence.

    Sorry Obama, are you sounding and acting more and more like McCain, or Limabugh, or Hannity everyday. You have proven with your promised vote to ignore the Constitution and now to violate not only common sense but morality itself.

    Sorry to say, but the worst of luck in November. You continuously show you do not represent the values of the Democratic Party I have been trying to build.


    What? (3.66 / 3) (#142)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:28:05 AM EST
    The death penalty does not, in fact, violate the Constitution.  The Supreme Court has ruled as such for quite some time.

    Where did Obama legalize spying on people?

    Where did he advocate changing the Constitution?

    The level of disinformation here is stunning.


    Did you even read the (1.00 / 1) (#178)
    by talex on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:09:29 AM EST
    latest decision by the Supreme Court on the issue being discussed? it doesn't appear so.

    Do you know what amendment to the constitution the his yes vote on the new bill regarding FISA will severely alter and violate is?

    What is a the problem here is not disinformation...

    It is low information on your part. But that seems to be par for the course with a lot of Obama supporters. I suggest you go over to a pro-Obama blog like openleft and see what Obama supporters are saying. I was being kind compared to them.


    Yeah ok (3.00 / 2) (#183)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:22:52 AM EST
    You said that the death penalty is Unconstitutional.  It most certainly IS NOT.  Passive-aggressive snark on your park won't change that fact.

    And I am well aware of which Amendment the FISA bill will affect.  Can you explain HOW it will affect it, rather than regurgitating hyperbole about the end of the Bill of Rights and other nonsense?

    Which part of the FISA bothers you specifically?


    It should be a custom that is dropped (1.00 / 1) (#226)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:04:19 AM EST
    it's a terribly uncivilized practice. You're such a lawyer.

    I'm not an Obama fan, but actually (2.00 / 1) (#207)
    by mrjerbub on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:35:19 AM EST
    he just endorsed the new FISA. He did not vote for it (not even "present"). Yet, anyway.

    you are dirt. (1.00 / 1) (#225)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:03:06 AM EST
    I have hung out here long enough (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:14:23 PM EST
    I have let go of the death penalty completely.  Yeah, I can look at both sides of the issue...  Some crimes are so heinous, I would want to guarantee no chance a person would ever have access to society.

    Now? Not so much.  While I would personally want 'revenge' there is no crime I would want my child put to death for.  There is no non-emotional metric, for deciding who to put to death, that can be met.

    I disagree with both on this one.  Their language means nothing for me.


    Really? You don't think the death penalty (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by masslib on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:25:46 PM EST
    should be reserved for a where a death actually occurs?  Hmm.  I see the emotionality of the issue, but this is a very slippery slope.  

    I don't oppose the DP in principle, (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by MarkL on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:42:05 PM EST
    but I don't see any benefit from it.
    One of the reasons I don't oppose it categorically is that a government makes many decisions which are guaranteed to cause death, which don't even impact criminals---e.g. the location of a coal-fired power plant. The scale of killing---or apportioning deathg geographically, if you will---that a government does dwarfs any principled concern I might have about the DP.
    But I see no benefit in applying the DP.

    Heh (none / 0) (#57)
    by Steve M on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:37:31 PM EST
    Not that slippery!  Barely any states have enacted death penalty statutes of this type.  I think as long as it's limited to particularly heinous cases of rape, it's really not likely to be extended further and further.

    I understand the appeal of wanting to draw a bright line somewhere, but I frankly don't think that's a great mode of constitutional interpretation.


    Heinous crimes (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by coigue on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:46:44 PM EST
    are high profile, with lots of pressure on prosecutors to get someone convicted.

    Too much pressure to do something...even if you have the wrong guy IMO.


    So what else is heinous? (5.00 / 6) (#73)
    by FemB4dem on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:51:52 PM EST
    Remember the video clip of the guy throwing someone's dog (a Bichon, I think) out the window of a car onto a crowded freeway?  If that had been me and my dog, right then and there I would have voted for the death penalty for dog murderers.  

    More seriously, how about torture?  How about kidnapping?  How about the FDLS child marriages/rapes?  This is a slippery slope.  Ideally, we would join with the other civilized countries that have rejected the death penalty all together. Barring that, there must be a bright line -- I think the Supreme Court rightly adopted one.  I find Obama's failure to see that a real flaw in his "progressive" veneer.


    Actually... (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:05:41 AM EST
    ...the trend has been to enact, specifically, DP statutes for rape of a child, usually under 12, for the last few years.  Not enough, apparently.  

     Personally, I find the "moral consensus" jurisprudence of the 8th amendment to be hopelessly bewildering at this point (this, for example, is unconstitutional because death is different, but life in prison without parole is OK for cocaine trafficking).  But at least we appear to be settled on this: death is different...except wait, we're not, because the court, along with its declaration that death is different, refused to include crimes against the state (i.e., treason) as part of that category where the ultimate punishment was impermissible.  And now "evolving standards" does, indeed, seem to be a one way street.  

     On the other hand, I thought this particular penalty violated the constitution for different reasons, namely that there were insufficient narrowing factors for aggravation and mitigation because of the statute in question.  That would have been the minimalist, and correct, in my opinion, at the moment, anyway, way to go.  Instead, the Court determined that they could not imagine any such situation where imposition of the death penalty would be so arbitrary as to be "freakish."  Not certain I agree, or that we needed to even reach such a decision, but there you have it.


    Yet.... I disagree. I think if this were (none / 0) (#70)
    by masslib on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:48:46 PM EST
    found constitutional you would indeed see other states adopt it.  It's like reinstituting the death penalty in certain states for cop killers.  That became an issue in MA when they were considering it in NH.  We haven't had the death penalty here in several decades.  Deval Patrick strongly opposed it, but if he hadn't won, and argued against it, I do think we would be considering it now.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#141)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:25:27 AM EST
    I didn't see their 2 comments as being similar at all.  While they both objected to the ruling McCain brought out the howitzers to attack the Court while Obama simply said that he felt that exceptions should have been granted for specific cases.

    It's just a pander (4.50 / 2) (#153)
    by jb64 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:42:57 AM EST
    nothing more. the issue has already been decided (no need to vote present) so why not do a little pandering towards single mothers? It's a calculated move to be on the right side of an emotional issue. we're talking about kids here. Can you imagine the thunderstorms of outrage from the right had he come out in favor of the ruling? they are already trying   to paint him as an elitist, out of touch with ordinary folk and here was a perfect opportunity to frame him in that way. Except he didn't bite.

    i have no idea what Obama thinks about this, or most, issues, but I believe his thinking is a lot closer to mine than McCain's ever would be. This is politics, You have to play the game. I never bought into the hope and change nonsense to begin with, and having been a Hillary supporter, I'm not suffering from buyer's remorse. If you did think he was a "different" type of politician well, at least now you know better.  

    Constitution? (4.25 / 4) (#137)
    by pluege on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 04:37:27 AM EST
    funny the state sponsored murderer boosters would invoke the constitution regarding state sponsored murder. The constitution doesn't say anything about it. SCOTUS with the support of Obama are legislating from the bench.

    It takes a violently psychotic mind to coolly calculate wren to commit their crimes.

    The Obama cheerleaders that shouted everyone down because Obama was the second coming of Jesus/Ghandi/MLK, besides being idiots are in for a rude awakening as they find their savior is a two-bit pandering pol that is to the right of the very centrist HRC.

    Folks, meet the new boss. (4.20 / 5) (#3)
    by wurman on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 10:57:39 PM EST
    Same as the old boss.

    Same as the competing boss.

    All bosses are the same.

    Now, just who chose the boss?

    Or, why bother to choose?  And that's the "choice" for 40 percent of the USA electorate.  As mom used to say, "Don't vote, son.  It just encourages them."

    that's (none / 0) (#103)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:34:48 AM EST

    Jeralyn (2.00 / 6) (#72)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:51:28 PM EST
    That's your candidate that you, BTD and TChris unequivocally support.

    Obama...he's soooo progressive.  His radical right friends and his pro-death penalty positions. No triangulation at all going on there.

    Maybe you should consider renaming this Talk Middle, considering the full support that Obama enjoys from this blog's authors, and how he's moving more Wright, er, right every day.

    TalkLeft Supports the Democratic Nominee (5.00 / 5) (#81)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:59:27 PM EST
    because any Democrat is better than what the Republicans offer. I've never said Obama was progressive on crime issues, to the contrary, I've critiqued him on these issues for more than a year.

    My disagreement with him is  a reason to point these things out -- to inform people and to hope, however unlikely it might be -- that if enough people express their disagreement with a particular position he has taken on an issue, he might change it. My disagreement with him on any single issue, or even a few of them, is not a reason not to support his candidacy as the Democratic nominee. I do realize no candidate would support all my positions on crime issues.

    It's neither hypocritical nor a change of position. We are a Democratic blog and we will vote for the nominee and encourage others to do so as well. That doesn't mean we won't criticize the nominee when we think he's wrong.


    Considering (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:32:01 AM EST
    your line of work I would think that this would make you take serious pause about Obama.

    Considering his history and legislative record is thin, it certainly doesn't make me any more comfortable that a Democrat espouses this line of thinking.

    And I don't think there's no way for an anti-death penalty person and an Obama supporter to explain their way around this position, considering Mr. Obama was a Constitutional law professor (which leads me more to believe that he's such an amateur to make such a misleading statement about state's rights).

    It's none of my business (need to disqualify myself) but when you state:

    My disagreement with him on any single issue, or even a few of them, is not a reason not to support his candidacy as the Democratic nominee.

    At what point will it be when Obama makes a stance on issues that it will drive many who want to vote Dem will not because an issue here or an issue there become too many to vote for him.

    I would like to think that I have a ton of respect for this blog.  But man when I see something as paramount as the death penalty coming into play and Obama goes right on it?

    Today's compromise becomes tomorrow's standard Jeralyn.

    Sorry to have been such an a55hole.  I'm still stinging from the primary.


    there is no candidate with a chance of winning (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:44:05 AM EST
    who is great on the death penalty. Kucinich was the best, but he had no chance of winning. When there is no candidate that supports your issues, you look to other things, like the judges they will appoint. There is no question in my mind that a Democratic president and congress will result in better judges than a Republican one. And I won't waste a vote on a third party candidate.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:59:18 AM EST
    a republican did give us Souter and Blackmun....just sayin'...

    And Scalia, Reinquist, Thomas, Alito (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:30:15 AM EST
    and Roberts.  A Republican also tried to ram Bork down our throats as well.

    And Brennan, and Stevens and, (3.50 / 2) (#126)
    by FemB4dem on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:24:07 AM EST
    for that matter, Warren.  You really have to go back to FDR to find a Dem with the spine to appoint truly liberal justices.  Clinton? Ginsburg and Breyer are fine, but no better than Stevens and Souter, IMO.  I really have no faith that an Obama running for re-election from Day One, pandering to the right, will pick a justice much, if any, better than what we might get from a McCain who, remember, has a deep, personal score to settle from 2000 against whom?  Oh yeah, the radical right.

    Lower court judges -- yep, I'll grant you that, Obama's appointments would be better.  The Supreme Court.  Nope.  I'm not sold.


    Jeralyn, you are right ... (none / 0) (#231)
    by Tortmaster on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:11:21 AM EST
    ... about the death penalty and the fact that all the candidates have positions that are wrong. I think, though, that we both know the Justices appointed by Barack Obama are exponentially more likely to find the death penalty to be cruel and unusual.

    McCain nominees are exponentially more likely to find additional uses for the death penalty -- like Louisiana tried to do in this case.


    I don't believe this is fair at all. (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by phat on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:56:59 AM EST
    Few people have been on the front line against the death penalty as Jeralyn Merritt. Her position gives her an intimate understanding of the legal and political problems involved in dealing with the death penalty.

    Your comment seems almost to be calling her a sellout. That's not fair and likely hurtful, in my estimation.

    Unless you've worked in the trenches in some manner similar to Jeralyn, I'm afraid you have little right to make these claims.


    The world's a shifting place, Texas (none / 0) (#109)
    by Newt on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:45:11 AM EST
    As much as I didn't want Hillary to win the nom, I would have worked my butt off for her to win the GE.  

    Perspective always shifts to fit each new situation.  JMHO


    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:54:19 AM EST
    and the shifting is what is wrong. I am just as dead set against Obama being the nominee as you were with Hillary.

    Obama shifts as the wind blows.  


    His statement... (none / 0) (#112)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:53:01 AM EST
    ...about state's rights wasn't misleading at all.  You wrote:

    considering Mr. Obama was a Constitutional law professor (which leads me more to believe that he's such an amateur to make such a misleading statement about state's rights).

     Except that it wasn't.  Oh, I suppose, to the extent that, say, the 8th amendment restriction applies equally to the federal government, it was inaccurate (the Court, btw, seemed to insulate their own DP provisions for drug kingpins and people convicted of treason, among other things, including the many DP (is that death penalty or Democratic Party? I'll leave it open) "reforms" introduced by our last Democratic president).  Rather, it was a reflection of a belief that the more appropriate place for this reform would have been the legislature, and that it was not the place of the courts to step in, at least not as a blanket prohibition.

     I happen to disagree with this decision, although not for that reason.  

     BTW, how paramount is the death penalty? I happen to oppose it, but politically abolition is a non-starter and I prefer that we spend more time addressing other sentencing issues.    


    The death penalty (none / 0) (#114)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:55:18 AM EST
    IS A sentencing issue.



    Did you even read what I wrote? (none / 0) (#116)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:57:02 AM EST
    I said "other sentencing issues."

     Yes, I am aware it is a sentencing issue.  If you aren't going to read my post before you respond (and you had no time to do so), then why bother?


    Jeralyn, on any issue(s) where (none / 0) (#195)
    by zfran on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:20:40 AM EST
    displeasure of stark disagreement has been pointed out, has he ever changed it? If the answer is yes, please tell me when? If the answer is no, then (and I ask this as a democrat)where are his dem principles compared to yours? (P.S. I, too, want to thank you for the civility you enforce on this site...)

    wo wthat is a positive argument (none / 0) (#227)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:06:44 AM EST
    His billing was like....er... so leftie.

    erm (none / 0) (#78)
    by coigue on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:55:53 PM EST
    excuse me. There are two choices.

    Which one is worse?


    I wish (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by magisterludi on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:53:22 AM EST
    we knew for sure.

    Who can tell? (4.75 / 4) (#132)
    by hookfan on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 02:25:57 AM EST
    With obama shifting to any position that suits him, how can you tell? If you decide that McCain is worse by definition you grant obama wide latitude to run from any principle historically Dems have stood for. And if you determine to vote for him whatever position he takes, why should he care what you want or need? After all he has what he wants and mostly needs, i.e., your vote. So shout all you want. Scream all you want. Call him bad names if you want. So what? It's all sound and fury signifying nothing. And that nothing is exactly what you will get from Obama. You enable him to ignore you.

    I agree completely. And he's not the nominee yet (none / 0) (#193)
    by sallywally on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:13:39 AM EST
    I've never before considered not voting Democratic, but the creepiness of Obama throughout this thing has me really uncomfortable. He is unpredictable and very peremptory - dare I say dictatorial? - in his policies and actions. And he seems very intent on power for its own sake.

    I don't trust him at all.

    He is not the official nominee yet. If he keeps this up, it's possible that some delegates and superdelegates will rethink their endorsements. It is conceivable that someone else could be nominated at the convention if he loses too much of his public support....say the progressive professional elites?

    He already doesn't have a huge swath of middle and lower class voters, and apparently he thinks he can win without them, but not if he loses the support of the Dem elites.

    McCain is certainly poised to pick up the middle-lower class voters Obama ignores.

    What will the SDs do if he becomes a likely loser in the election?

    Of course, no one is covering this in the media, and there seem to be wildly varying polls on his electability vs McCain - how to know if he's quite a few points ahead or just barely tied?

    But even John Nichols of The Nation, which endorsed Obama early, has written about his betrayal with NAFTA. If this continues, some of the progressive pubs and blogs will withdraw support. Wonder if MSNBC will stop spinning for him....

    It's not written in stone yet....

    Just saying.


    Uhhh... (1.00 / 1) (#191)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:01:02 AM EST
    Jeebus, what grade are you in?

    You must have take Obama's special classes in constitutional law.

    I think this is because (1.00 / 0) (#235)
    by RedSox04 on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 03:14:32 PM EST
    Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, and he supports the implementation of Sharia law here in the United States.

    What kind of judges will Obama nominate? (none / 0) (#77)
    by Manuel on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 11:54:31 PM EST
    Are we going to get a Dem version of Souter with Obama?

    Or will we get a another Souter from McCain, (5.00 / 7) (#100)
    by FemB4dem on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:29:04 AM EST
    and a Doug Kmeic from Obama?  I think that's the real question.  McCain will be a one-termer controlled by a Dem Senate we can hope will grow a spine.  Obama will be someone running for re-election from day 1, reaching out to the radical right as has been his wont, with nothing and no one to apply the brakes.  The specter of someone I have yet to see stand firm on anything, being given the unleashed power of the Executive beast created by Dubya, is frightening.

    Good Points, but... (2.00 / 1) (#177)
    by pluege on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:08:35 AM EST
    mccain is violently, psychotically insane. He is hell bent on murdering a mess of people and punishing women for being (in his view) inferior to men. Although he likely will not be a suck up if elected, he will be vindictive and egomaniacal, and probably a Ghouliani style megalomaniac.

    The lessor of 2 evils still puts Obama in the WH.


    This is exactly what I expected. (none / 0) (#98)
    by phat on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:27:43 AM EST
    I'm not shocked.

    Wait a second (none / 0) (#123)
    by phat on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:09:21 AM EST
    Is that Chicago school of law seeping in?

    What's wrong with Chicago school of law? (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by sher on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:11:07 AM EST
    an alum

    I truly believe..... (none / 0) (#149)
    by Kefa on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:15:20 AM EST
    God will lead us out of this wilderness.

    Bolt of lightning or burning bush? (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by samanthasmom on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:18:02 AM EST
    I think the bush has been burning for a while, but people haven't been hearing its words. Lightning keeps striking but people are just moving out of the way and ignoring the storm.  I'm reminded of the story of the man on the roof of his house waiting for God to rescue him.  He sends away a boat and a helicopter that want to save him because he's waiting for God.  When he finally drowns and goes to heaven,he chastises God for not rescuing him.  God says, "I sent you a boat and a helicopter.  What were you waiting for?" There's a path out of this wilderness.  It's in plain view.

    I think Obama and McCain are both correct. (none / 0) (#162)
    by halstoon on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:19:48 AM EST
    Child rape is the most heinous of crimes, and thus is deserving of eligibility for the most serious of all punishments. The Court overstepped its authority in this instance, I believe.

    Then again, I'm also clearly not anti-execution, so therefore I'm not upset that Obama will not run on an anti-death penalty platform.

    "people who didn't kill someone" (none / 0) (#169)
    by byteb on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 08:55:19 AM EST
    Adult survivors of child rape are forever horrifically affected by the physical and emotional trauma that they have experienced. Although not physically dead, many are, in a sense, emotionally crippled if not emotionally dead by the violence they have experienced in many cases by a family member, teacher, coach or religious leader. I, too, am against the death penalty but after having spent many years dealing with individuals who have been raped as children, I can't be quite as righteous in my distain for Obama's statement. Child rape is a horrendous crime that can only be fully comprehended by the victims and those close to them.

    So the Supreme Court is essentially saying (none / 0) (#184)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:31:57 AM EST
    that raping a small child is not a truly heinous crime?

    While the death penalty is not a huge issue for me, general civil right's for the accused is far more important to me, I don't care much for the Supreme Court getting in the business of deciding what is and what is not a capital offense worthy of the DP.  The SCOTUS is supposed to determine the Constitutionality of a law, not whether its application is appropriate.  

    If the SCOTUS wishes to say that the DP is Unconstitutional based on 8th Amendment grounds, that's great.  But to pick and choose when they feel the DP is cruel and unusual seems to be outside the jurisdiction of the SCOTUS.

    I think the reason is clear (none / 0) (#202)
    by blogtopus on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 10:29:11 AM EST
    Look at Mark Foley, and the various far-right institutions* that have been involved in child abuse cases... they're covering their a$$es for the future unveiling of Contract on America's Kids.

    *I'm not sure the Holy See would be considered a far-right institution, but I'm including it here out of respect for the Pope. /snark


    this is where I laugh at his backers for calling (none / 0) (#224)
    by Salo on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 11:02:20 AM EST
    me a GOP mole.  I'd like to see the death penalty abolished.  It's essentially barbarous.

    You know who's really against the death penalty? (none / 0) (#233)
    by Jorsh on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:43:16 PM EST
    Bill and Hillary Clinton.  That whole Ricky Ray Rector thing was just a big misunderstanding.

    Obama in 2005 on Judge Roberts (none / 0) (#234)
    by laurie on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 01:41:12 PM EST
    Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party
    by Barack Obama
    Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:38:41 AM PDT
    From the diaries by Armando (BTD)?
    It's this non-ideological lens through which much of the country viewed Judge Roberts' confirmation hearings.   A majority of folks, including a number of Democrats and Independents, don't think that John Roberts is an ideologue bent on overturning every vestige of civil rights and civil liberties protections in our possession.  Instead, they have good reason to believe he is a conservative judge who is (like it or not) within the mainstream of American jurisprudence, a judge appointed by a conservative president who could have done much worse (and probably, I fear, may do worse with the next nominee).  While they hope Roberts doesn't swing the court too sharply to the right, a majority of Americans think that the President should probably get the benefit of the doubt on a clearly qualified nominee.

    A plausible argument can be made that too much is at stake here and now, in terms of privacy issues, civil rights, and civil liberties, to give John Roberts the benefit of the doubt.  That certainly was the operating assumption of the advocacy groups involved in the nomination battle.  ...

    In such circumstances, attacks on Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold and the other Democrats who, after careful consideration, voted for Roberts make no sense.  Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution's design.

    The same principle holds with respect to issues other than judicial nominations.

    Crickets from Dailykos (none / 0) (#236)
    by UncleDavid on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 03:26:45 PM EST
    Admittedly I still can't sit still long enough to give DK a complete read. But, as far as I can see, the front page and recommended diaries are silent on this. Their hero is suddenly revealed as just another centrist, pandering politician, and it fries all the synapses.

    I did find this comment in a non-rec diary. I'm surprised it's still there:

    When I was campaigning for Hillary I was constantly told that Obama was the new type of politican.  On the other hand, Hillary was skewered because people believed she would say anything to get elected.  Now that Obama is the nominee I am being told not to get upset about what he says because he is just saying it to get elected.

    I guess it turns out I was right.  When Obama talked about "hope" he was merely talking about his hope that he could get away with saying anything it took to get elected.

    (I'm "with" Obama simply for the sake of PU, but every day I get more and more depressed. Even my Obamagirl wife, one-time district-level delegate, has gone awful quiet).

    Ricky Ray Rector (none / 0) (#237)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 04:06:38 PM EST
    It's was all engineered (somehow) by Obama's people and the media to make the Clintons look bad.

    Forgive my poor memory (none / 0) (#238)
    by tlkextra on Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 03:22:00 PM EST
    if I mistate any facts, but years ago I read a book called "Little Charlie Ross". He was a child that had been kidnapped and murdered in the early 1900's. At that time, kidnapping alone, resulted in the death penalty. After his death, laws were passed to try to discourage a criminal from following through with additionally murdering the victim. It only makes sense that some would choose to forever silence their victims by death if the penalty is the same for a lesser crime that doesn't involve murder. I strongly disagree with Senator Obama's judgement in regards to this matter.