Little Green Footballs

Sunday, October 30, 2005

For me, but not for thee

Here's an addition to the "maybe Islamo-fascists aren't so bad after all" file.

The story in question concerns Saudi Arabia, which has sentenced a 14-year-old Egyptian murderer to death. Charles mentions this monstrous decision without editorializing, knowing full well that his lizards would do it for him.

And they have, by revisiting the case of Roper v. Simmons, in which a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing criminals under 18 is unconstitutional. The ruling caused a collective aneurysm among the right-wing élite, as it was based in part on the overwhelming rejection, among civilized peoples, of the idea that the state-sponsored killing of adolescents is OK.

Charles didn't comment on the case at the time, but many of his future Pajamas Media colleagues did. Such as Pajamazoid Eugene Volokh, who "found Justice Scalia's powerful dissent pretty tough to refute as a matter of constitutional law."

Here's an excerpt from Scalia's dissent (emphasis in original):

The Court begins by noting that “Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, [1577 U. N. T. S. 3, 28 I. L. M. 1448, 1468–1470, entered into force Sept. 2, 1990], which every country in the world
has ratified save for the United States and Somalia, contains an express prohibition on capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles under 18.” Ante, at 22 (emphasis added). The Court also discusses the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), December 19, 1966, 999 U. N. T. S. 175, ante, at 13, 22, which the Senate ratified only subject to a reservation that reads:

“The United States reserves the right, subject to its Constitutional restraints, to impose capital punishment on any person (other than a pregnant woman) duly convicted under existing or future laws permitting the imposition of capital punishment, including such punishment for crime committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, S. Exec. Rep. No. 102–23, (1992).

Unless the Court has added to its arsenal the power to join and ratify treaties on behalf of the United States, I cannot see how this evidence favors, rather than refutes, its position. That the Senate and the President—those actors our Constitution empowers to enter into treaties, see Art. II, §2—have declined to join and ratify treaties prohibiting execution of under-18 offenders can only suggest that our country has either not reached a national consensus on the question, or has reached a consensus contrary to what the Court announces. That the reservation to the ICCPR was made in 1992 does not suggest otherwise, since the reservation still remains in place today.

To paraphrase: "we should be able to execute kids if we want to, and if the rest of the world doesn't like it, tough shit." Translated into Farsi, that would fit right into a typical speech by Ahmad Ahmadinejad.

Oh, and speaking of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of the nations that has ratified it is Saudi Arabia -- and if it does execute that teenager, it will be in violation. No wonder Our Leader likes the Saudis so much -- their disdain for international law, not to mention international standards of civilized behavior, is second only to his own.

As for the lizards, they should make up their minds. Is is OK to execute minors, or isn't it? On this issue, there's no such thing as "nuance."

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