Ron DeSantis and Florida Are About to Give the Supreme Court a Direct Challenge on the Death Penalty

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The Florida Senate passed and sent to Governor Ron DeSantis a proposed law permitting the death penalty for pervs who rape kids under age 12. Governor DeSantis, who championed the bill, is expected to sign it into law, thereby setting up a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court.


In the 2008 Supreme Court decision called Kennedy vs. Louisiana, Patrick O’Neal Kennedy was convicted of raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter in that case. She didn’t die but suffered traumatic physical and, one must presume, psychological injuries. According to Wikipedia:

[The rape] tore the victim’s perineum “from her vaginal opening to her anal opening. [It] tore her vagina on the interior such that it separated partially from her cervix and allowed her rectum to protrude into her vagina. Invasive emergency surgery was required to repair these injuries.”

He was sentenced to death under a 1995 Louisiana law that had been passed in response to the 1997 case of Coker vs. Georgia, in which Justice Byron White lectured us that despite several thousand years of human experience, “Rape is without doubt deserving of serious punishment; but in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public, it does not compare with murder, which does involve the unjustified taking of human life.” Because, suddenly, only murderers were subject to the death penalty.

When the Supreme Court heard Kennedy’s case, a five-justice majority (Kennedy (who the f*** else?), joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer), who had never encountered the concepts of “federalism” and “sovereign states,” ruled that the “national consensus” was that raping kids didn’t merit the death penalty.

Kennedy vs. Louisiana

Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008) by Scribd Government Docs

The purpose of this bill is to kill child rapists, but more importantly, it is to get the Kennedy vs. Louisiana decision back in front of the Supreme Court. None of the majority in that decision are still on the Court. Three of the four dissenters — Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas — are still active.

Just like the Mississippi legislature passed a law that they knew ran counter to Supreme Court rulings on abortion to get the issue back before the Supreme Court, Florida is doing the same thing with H.B. 1297. If this law does make it to the Supreme Court before the makeup changes substantially, there is little doubt that Kennedy will join Roe in the Bad Precedents Recycling Bin.

Florida Death to Child Rapists Bill, H.B. 1297

HB1297- Capital Sexual Battery by Anne Schindler

Accompanying this law is a bill signed into law by Governor DeSantis today, only requiring an 8-4 decision to impose the death penalty instead of a unanimous vote once the defendant has been convicted. This makes Florida one of three states opposed to the “national consensus” that it takes a unanimous jury vote to impose the death penalty.

It will be years before we find out if the Florida strategy works out, but it is a long overdue discussion. My personal opinion is that a child rapist is much more deserving of the death penalty than a run-of-the-mill stick-up man who killed someone. The rapist requires his victim to relive her rape for the rest of her life. It will color the way she approaches her day-to-day existence and her relationships forever. I think the “national consensus” standard is utter hogwash because we are a federal republic composed of sovereign states.


I also think the “evolving standard of decency” standard is absolute bullsh** because no one can convince me that a society that allows homosexual marriage and recognizes transgenderism is evolving rather than regressing. If a state wants the death penalty for crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, or, here’s one for the pronoun gang, bestiality, or any other crime for which the death penalty has been imposed since the U.S. Constitution was ratified, I don’t think the Supreme Court has the right to interfere.

If we are ever to roll back the egregious power grab the Supreme Court and federal judiciary has carried out over the last century…New Deal, I’m looking at you…then courageous state legislatures and equally courageous governors must stand ready to fight.

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