Bench Memos

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—June 5

1968—Sirhan Sirhan assassinates Democratic presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy just after midnight during the celebration of Kennedy’s victory in the California primary. Sirhan’s death sentence for the crime is voided when the California supreme court in 1972 misconstrues the state constitution’s prohibition on cruel or unusual punishment to reflect “contemporary standards of decency” and rules that the death penalty violates what it misimagines contemporary standards to be. (See This Day for February 18, 1972.)

Ed Whelan — Ed Whelan is a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law.

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