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NYT’s Greenhouse: Supreme Court Erred in Child Rape Case

Publication Date: 
July 02, 2008
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Dan Slater

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog posted this about Linda Greenhouse's follow up story on the Supreme Court's decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana, a case argued by Jeffrey Fisher:

When Justice Kennedy concluded that capital punishment for child rape was contrary to the “evolving standards of decency” by which the court judges how the death penalty is applied, he based that holding, at least in part, on a factual determination that a child rapist could face death in only six states — not in any of the 30 other states that have the death penalty, and not under the jurisdiction of the federal government either.


“It turns out that Justice Kennedy’s confident assertion about the absence of federal law was wrong,” writes Greenhouse in today’s NYT. Over the weekend, reports Greenhouse, Dwight Sullivan, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve who now works for the Air Force as a civilian defense lawyer handling death penalty appeals, wrote on his blog, in a post entitled “The Supremes Dis the Military Justice System,” that, in 2006, Congress revised the sex crimes section of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to add child rape to the military death penalty. The revisions were in the National Defense Authorization Act that year. President Bush signed that bill into law.