Yesterday, Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas voted to allow the execution of children to continue in America’s courts. The practice has been disavowed, since 1990, in human rights bastions such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Congo and China. Scalia and Thomas felt Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia did not deserve to be held up to the same standard.
This is not the first time Scalia and Thomas have stood up for stone age tactics in America’s criminal justice system:
In 2002, Scalia and Thomas supported executing the mentally retarded, dissenting from the Court’s 6–3 ruling that executing mentally retarded convicts constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” [Atkins v. Virginia, 2002]
Also in 2002, Scalia and Thomas stood up for draconian measures against inmates, dissenting from a 6–3 decision to ban the Alabama practice of chaining prisoners to outdoor ‘’hitching posts’’ and abandoning them for hours without food, water, or a chance to use the bathroom. [Hope v. Pelzer, 2002]
Ten years earlier, In 1992, Scalia and Thomas seized their first chance to team up on behalf of brutality against prisoners. The Court considered a Louisiana inmate who “was shackled and then punched and kicked by two prison guards while a supervisor looked on.” The beating left the inmate “with a swollen face, loosened teeth and a cracked dental plate.” The Court ruled the inmate’s treatment violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, but Scalia and Thomas dissented, arguing the inmate had suffered “insignificant” harm. [Hudson v. McMillan, 1992]
Check out American Progress’s, “Ten Things President Bush Doesn’t Want You To Know About Scalia and Thomas,” for more on what a future America would look like under a Scalia Thomas Supreme Court.