Supreme Court Goofs Up Key Fact in Child Rape Decision

Court was wrong about federal death penalty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2008 2:36 AM CDT
In this March 3, 2006 file photo, members of the Supreme Court pose for a photo at the Supreme Court' Supreme Building in Washington.    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court misconstrued a key fact in reaching its recent decision banning the death penalty for child rape, reports the New York Times. Swing justice Anthony Kennedy mistakenly noted in his decision that child rapists did not face the death penalty in federal jurisdiction. But in fact the rape of a child was made a military capital crime when the military code of justice was revised in 2006.

A military lawyer picked up on the error about jurisdictions, which formed a central plank of the court's argument about "evolving standards of decency." The losing party, Louisiana, has 25 days to file a request for the court to reconsider its ruling. But any move to reverse the 5-4 decision is thought to be unlikely, despite the court's blunder.