July 3, 2008
Michael, one additional point on Kennedy's decision and also a comment on castration of sex offenders if I may.
As a military blog first pointed out and major news sources picked up, Justice Kennedy got a number of things wrong in his decision. Justice Kennedy used as part of his justification that the federal government has gone out of its way to NOT include the death penalty for child rapists. However that simply is not true:
But just two years ago, Congress did enact a law permitting the death penalty for the rape of a child, which makes the number of authorizing jurisdictions seven (Louisiana, Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and the military), not six.
Section 552(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, 119 Stat. 3136, 3264 (2006), provides that "[u]ntil the President otherwise provides pursuant to" UCMJ article 56, "the punishment which a court-martial may direct for an offense under" the amended UCMJ article 120 "may not exceed the following limits: . . . For an offense under subsection (a) (rape) or subsection (b) (rape of a child), death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct."
That is a congressional statute expressly authorizing the death penalty for the rape of a child. How come neither side in the Kennedy case even mentioned it?
Personally I am opposed to the death penalty - but at the same time do not believe there is a pit in Hell deep enough to put anyone who would harm a child in. I am also not convinced castration is an answer. Castration only reduces testosterone levels and
may control arousal and libido. However rape of any kind is never a sexual act but one of violence and control and castration would never be a surefire way to suppress that deviant and despicable behavior. Child rapists deserve a life in prison with no chance of parole in my opinion - their vile acts have little chance of rehabilitation.