Monday, April 15, 2024

DeSantis Backs Death Penalty for Child Rapists; SCOTUS Showdown Possible

'Child rape is a crime so heinous that I doubt they would worry about public condemnation of such a ruling...'

(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has openly backed the death penalty for child rapists, contradicting a Supreme Court ruling from 2008, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

The Florida state House and Senate have both passed HB 1297, having to do with the punishment of offenders who are found guilty of capital sexual battery.

The bill, they wrote, “provides for death sentences for certain child sexual offenders; provides for separate death penalty proceedings in such cases” along with “the imposition of sentence of life imprisonment or death.”

DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days, and has already noted in a podcast that he believed that the Supreme Court would be open to a challenge to their 2008 ruling.

The previous ruling in question is the 2008 Kennedy v. Louisiana decision, wherein the high court ruled against executing child rapists, citing the Eighth Amendment’s “cruel and unusual punishment” clause.

Chief Justice John Roberts along with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, opposed the decision.

However, Cully Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller that she found such a challenge unlikely to succeed.

“I wouldn’t bet on it that the court is willing to take up this decision,” Stimson said, noting that four justices would have to agree to hear the case, which she finds unlikely.

Stimson’s skepticism was echoed by Gregory Caldeira, a law professor at Ohio State University, who doubted “whether it would pass muster in the Supreme Court.”

Not all legal experts remain down on DeSantis’s prospects, though.

Joshua Dressler, an Ohio State University law professor emeritus, noted that the current court “is not as concerned with precedent as some courts in the past.”

“It is conceivable that this Court would overturn Kennedy,” Dressler said, adding that the court seems willing to cut against the grain of public opinion.

“Child rape is a crime so heinous that I doubt they would worry about public condemnation of such a ruling,” he continued. “They did not worry about overruling Roe v. Wade even though the majority of Americans favor the right to abortion.”

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