Thursday, June 26, 2008

SCOTUS

(WARNING:This video has some naughty language.)

Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Is 'Totally Badass'

Of course we Libertarians are thrilled to bits over the Heller decision.
Bob Barr Calls Heller Decision on Gun Rights “One of Court’s Most Important Rulings on behalf of Liberty ”

Washington , DC - Today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual right of Americans to own guns in District of Columbia v. Heller. The ruling “will go down as one of the Supreme Court’s most important rulings on behalf of liberty,” says Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr.

Until today, the Court had never held that the Second Amendment directly applied to individuals. “Today’s decision marks a new era for gun rights in America ,” explains Barr, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association. Barr also drafted the Libertarian Party’s amicus curiae brief in Heller. “By protecting an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment ensures that all Americans are able to participate in sporting activities, hunt, and protect themselves and their families,” he explains.

The right to self-defense is particularly important for women and minorities in a city like Washington , D.C. “Where crime rates are high, a gun may be the only means for law-abiding citizens to safeguard themselves and their families,” Barr notes. “Lawful gun ownership deters an untold number of crimes every year.”
But the Court’s ruling, though welcome, is not enough. “It is important to have a president who also supports the right of Americans to own firearms,” says Barr. “Sen. Barack Obama says that he believes in such a constitutional right, but he supports the District of Columbia ’s ban, which gives criminals an advantage over law-abiding citizens,” notes Barr.

Sen. McCain has not advocated an absolute prohibition, “but he cosponsored legislation which could require registration of attendees at gun shows and even ban such shows,” Barr warns. And Sen. McCain’s campaign legislation “curtailed the First Amendment right of gun owners to protect their rights by participating in election campaigns.”


The Supreme Court also decided that the death penalty was unconstitutional in rape cases. While I have no sympathy for convicted rapists, the severity of the punishment must be based on the severity of the offense. The harshest punishment, the death penalty, must be reserved for the worst of crimes. As heinous as rape is, murder is still worse.

9 comments:

Jeff Pruitt said...

Now I'm going to plead ignorance right up front here. But I must say that I'm surprised to here that the LP supports the death penalty.

As a body of thought that views the government through a skeptical lens, and basically sees it as a corrupt and incompetent organization, I'm surprised to hear you would think enough of its justice system to allow them to make life and death decisions...

Fr. Fozy Bear said...

Actually Jeff,

It is a split issue within the LP membership on several counts.

Does the State, as representative of the people's will, have the right to eliminate someone from their existence within society? Yes sure they do. But do they have the right to violate someone's unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? That is the question where most LP members start drawing straws, and hope that their side wins out.

The issues for both the Courts and the LP members and ultimately We The People comes down to the legal definition and consensus of the governed as to what is "cruel and unusual punishment". And that is a Pandora Box that no one wants to define outright. We just scale the wall and tickle the timber support beams every once in a blue moon as a society.

BTW, I am against the death penalty and life long, state paid, imprisonment. Anything over twenty one years (up to three, seven year cycles - religious definition for servitude) IMHO is "cruel and unusual".

Willbert said...

I am a Libertarian, and have no issues with the death penalty for severely heinous crimes. In fact, I tend to disagree with the SCOTUS decision on the case in Louisana.

Unfortunately, most of the people committing crimes feel that there is an element of right in their actions at the time. Thus, potential punishments are not a consideration. So I can't honestly say that I think the death penalty is a deterrant to anybody who would commit a crime that would lead to it anyways. Sure, I would think long and hard about it before I committed a crime, but I am very unlikely to do something like that regardless of the punishment.

I enjoy your blog.

Robert Enders said...

Jeff,
A government's greatest responsibility is detect and deter criminal behavior. That is a matter of life and death, and as far as I can tell the government handles that better than the private sector can. When the government takes on additional tasks such as building ballparks and propping up the automotive industry, that distracts from its primary function.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Robert,

You think government does an effective job of detecting and deterring criminal behavior?

Robert Enders said...

It is true that many crimes do go unsolved. But the criminal justice system plays a far greater role in deterrence. How do you think people might behave if they thought they would not be arrested for illegal behavior?

Willbert said...

I agree with the previous comments, but let's not overlook the government's decision to allow violent criminals out of prison (to commit more violent crimes) in order to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders.

Robert Enders said...

We didn't forget that. This thread was originally about gun control and the death penalty, then Jeff asked a valid question and I answered it. I'll try to get around to doing a drug war post soon.

Phil Marx said...

Looking forward to it, Robert!