Well Here’s a Rare Bit of Good Human Rights News

From no less than our notoriously callous Supreme Court. Let’s stock up our emotional reserves with this while we await Thursday’s ACA ruling…

The court ruled that laws requiring youths convicted of murder to be sentenced to die in prison violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The 5-to-4 decision divided the court along ideological lines, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the four members of the liberal wing….

Writing for the majority in the decision concerning juvenile offenders, Justice Elena Kagan said the Constitution forbids “requiring that all children convicted of homicide receive lifetime incarceration without possibility of parole, regardless of their age and age-related characteristics and the nature of their crimes.”

The problem with mandatory sentences, Justice Kagan wrote, is that “every juvenile will receive the same sentence as every other — the 17-year-old and the 14-year-old, the shooter and the accomplice, the child from a stable household and the child from a chaotic and abusive one.”

“Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile precludes consideration of his chronological age and its hallmark features — among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences,” Justice Kagan added. “It prevents taking into account the family and home environment that surrounds him — and from which he cannot usually extricate himself — no matter how brutal or dysfunctional.”

Dee dee dee!

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