Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined his colleagues in sending a letter to the Justices of the Supreme Court regarding the opinion recently issued in Kennedy v. Louisiana.
On June 25, 2008, the Court ruled that the death penalty for child rapists is unconstitutional. Simpson and his colleagues are requesting the Justices to reexamine the factual basis for the majority opinion and urged them to withdraw the opinion and reconsider the case.
"Parents often ask me to do all I can to keep our kids safe," said Simpson. "I think we must hold people who commit these unspeakable heinous crimes responsible for their actions. That is why it is critical the Supreme Court reconsider its decision in this case, and take all of the facts into consideration."
The letter, signed by 85 Members of Congress and hand delivered yesterday, expresses concern that the central factual basis for the majority opinion was incomplete and inaccurate. According to the majority opinion, "[t]he evidence of a national consensus with respect to the death penalty for child rapists shows divided opinion but, on balance, an opinion against it." However, Congress, as representatives of the people, has overwhelmingly passed legislation making the death penalty the maximum punishment for child rapists. The letter outlines the history of congressional support for this provision and asks that the Court reconsider its decision with this support in mind.
"Like many Idahoans, I disagree with the Supreme Court's assertion that the death penalty is an unconstitutional punishment for these horrific crimes," Simpson said. "The evidence clearly shows that there is national consensus in this issue, and I am hopeful that the Court will reconsider the case in light of this fact."