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October 13, 2004

Roper reading redux

The newspapers bring more stories on Roper v. Simmons, the case to be argued today in the Supreme Court exploring whether it is still constitutional to execute persons who committed capital crimes before turning eighteen. This morning you can find thoughtful coverage in articles from The Washington Post, The New York Sun, and two pieces from the Christian Science Monitor here and here. (Other stories and materials on the case were previously assembled here and here.)

Additional background on the Roper case can be found from the folks at the SCOTUS Blog here. That post reminds me that the Roper case, in addition to addressing an important symbolic aspect of how the US administers capital punishment, could prompt interesting (and perhaps contentious) opinions addressing whether and how to give evolving meaning to the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments.

In addition, this USA Today op-ed by Jimmy Carter on Roper v. Simmons spotlights the question of whether the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Eighth Amendment ought to be influenced by international human rights norms. (Recall that the role of international law was hotly debated in the Justices' opinions in Atkins v. Virginia, when the court reconsidered the constitutionality of executing persons with mental retardation.)

October 13, 2004 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

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