Roper & Roe...

by Shannen W. Coffin

A very wise reader reminds me that the US Catholic Bishops Conference filed a brief that asked the Court to abolish the death penalty for minors. In a press statement last summer, Cardinal McCarrick stated: “Just two years ago, the Court concluded that the execution of persons with mental retardation cannot be squared with the constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. It is our hope that the Supreme Court will now extend the same moral wisdom and legal reasoning to the use of the death penalty against those who committed capital crimes as juveniles.”

Be careful what you wish for, Bishops. The basic reasoning in this decision, which gives five unelected justices the ability to decide what is best for all of us, is exactly the same reasoning that led to the unyielding legal protection for abortion in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, as well as the recent decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which constitutionalized homosexual sodomy and led directly to the state judicial decisions requiring states to legalize gay marriage. “Moral wisdom” should not be driving our constitutional decisions in these areas, but is best left to the elected branches of government to decide. Perhaps you should stick to matters of the Church because you’re not helping in matters of the law.

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