The Supreme Court today refused to revisit its decision outlawing executions for people convicted of raping children, reports the Associated Press. Louisiana and the Bush administration had requested a rehearing based on the failure of anyone involved in the case to take into account a federal law from 2006 that authorizes the death penalty for members of the military convicted of child rape. The state said the case should be reopened because Justice Anthony Kennedy relied in part on what he called a “national consensus” against executing convicted rapists. The court split 5-4 in the June 25 ruling.
The justices, by a 7-2 vote, issued an amended opinion today that adds a footnote concerning military law, but leaves the essence of the decision untouched. The provision of military law setting out punishments for rapists “does not draw into question our conclusions that there is a consensus against the death penalty for the crime in the civilian context and that the penalty here is unconstitutional,” Kennedy wrote, joined by the four liberal justices who formed the majority in June.