3/01/2005

A disappointing day for W

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states. The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes. The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.
Scalia and Thomas, of course, dissented.

And...
A federal district judge in South Carolina (nominated to the court by Bush in 2003) ruled Monday that President Bush had greatly overstepped his authority by detaining an American citizen as an enemy combatant for nearly three years without filing criminal charges. The judge ruled that the government must release the American, Jose Padilla, within 45 days from the military brig in Charleston, S.C., where he has been held since June 2002. He sharply criticized the administration's use of the enemy combatant designation in Mr. Padilla's case: "The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant...To do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country's constitutional tradition," Judge Floyd wrote, "but it would also be a betrayal of this nation's commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and individual liberties."
The judge also said that to agree with the president would "be to engage in judicial activism," a phrase often used by the White House to criticize rulings with which it disagrees.

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