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Standards of Decency May Be 'Evolving,' but the Power to Amend the Constitution Belongs to the People, Not to Supreme Court Justices

by Staff
May 20, 2010
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NEW YORK, ( -- On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in Graham v. Florida that the "Constitution prohibits the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile offender who did not commit homicide." In so holding, the Court stated that it must look beyond "historical conceptions" to "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society."

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, had the following comments.

Reasonable people may differ as to whether or when a juvenile should be given a life-without-parole sentence, but for the Supreme Court to create out of thin air a rule that all life-without-parole sentences involving juveniles, except those involving homicide, now violate the Constitution's "cruel and unusual punishment" provision shows how far the Court has strayed from its proper place.

For one thing, it is difficult to understand how a life- without-parole sentence as applied to juveniles is "cruel and unusual" when 37 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal government permit that punishment. The Court got around that problem in part by looking to what other nations now do.

What the Supreme Court has done in Graham is reinterpret yet another Constitutional Amendment in a manner that ignores the history of the Amendment itself and the will of the people but that reflects the Justices' own ideological views. Times may be changing, but the power to amend the Constitution still belongs to the American people, not to activist Supreme Court Justices.

In Graham, the Court justified its decision in part on the grounds that juveniles have a "'lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility'; they 'are more vulnerable or susceptible to negative influences...'"

But when it comes to hardcore adult pornography on the Internet, much of which is available to children free of charge and without proof of age, the Supreme Court is for more concerned about the embarrassment or fear that some grown-ups would experience, if required to provide proof of age to view online smut, than it is about the negative impact on children of exposure to hardcore pornography that depicts bestiality, bondage, excretory activities (feces, urine, vomit), incest, gangbangs, marital infidelity, prostitution, rape, teen sex, torture, and unsafe sex galore.

The Supreme Court will soon also be deciding whether the State of California can restrict children's access to violent videogames that are harmful to minors. It remains to be seen whether the Court's concern about "negative influences" on children will carry over to violent videogames.

It also remains to be seen whether Elena Kagan, President Obama's choice to fill a soon to be vacant seat on the Court, will come down on the side of moral sanity or the side of moral anarchy.

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