“The Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death.”
It was that quote from Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch that threw the death penalty into yet another heated debate this week.
Here’s what happened. Let me give you the details first… then you can scroll down to see what I think. (I know, I know… who cares what a cop thinks, right?)
The Supreme Court has handed down a decision in a case brought by a Missouri death row inmate. And critics are losing their minds, saying it erodes protections against torture that are written into the U.S. Constitution.
Because once again, we’re more compassionate in this country for criminals than we are for victims.
It was a 5-4 decision. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the court’s majority, saying Russell Bucklew can be executed by lethal injection despite his medical condition called cavernous hemangioma.
Bucklew’s legal team argued that the condition will cause Bucklew to choke for several minutes on his own blood before dying as the tumors growing in his throat and elsewhere in his body rupture.
But here’s the thing. Gorsuch said it that nowhere does the Constitution say lethal execution had to be painless.
“The Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death,” wrote Gorsuch.
Death penalty abolitionists and critics called the decision “blood-thirsty”, “atrocious” and “barbaric”. They argue the ruling might as well nullify the Eighth Amendment, which banns “cruel and unusual punishment”.
I really cannot exaggerate how radical and how significant the opinion Gorsuch handed down today is. It completely rewrites the Court's understanding of a provision of the Bill of Rights — and it portends similarly revolutionary opinions in the future.https://t.co/0qpXBBizRg
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) April 1, 2019
Cry me a freaking river. Bucklew didn’t care about pain when he raped or murdered his victims.
But bleeding heart liberals are melting down.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 1, 2019
Gorsuch argued in his opinion that it was a desperate attempt to delay the execution. He said Bucklew did not make his objection known early enough to change the state’s planned course of action.
The judge was confirmed in 2017 after being nominated by President Trump. He pointed out that Justice Clarence Thomas’s view on the Eighth Amendment is now the law of the land. That view is that “cruel and unusual punishment” should be understood only as pain that is deliberately inflicted.
Elie Mystal wrote in the legal analysis blog “Above The Law”. He cries that this will not only condemn Bucklew to a painful death as opposed to a less painful method, per the convict’s request, but will weaken the Eighth Amendment for generations.
“Unknown numbers of innocent people have been executed in this country since the death penalty was reinstated,” wrote Mystal. “Untold numbers of guilty people have known the spiteful vengeance some people mistake for justice. Through it all, the Eighth Amendment sits on the sidelines, a grand idea neutered by our society’s rage and cowardice, waiting for better men and women to live up to its noble promise.”
The Supreme Court's 5–4 death penalty decision today is beyond appalling. It legalizes torture and effectively reverses 60 years of progressive precedent. It transforms a barbaric view of the 8th Amendment into the law of the land. It is horrific. https://t.co/qYTlgQHT8b @Slate
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 1, 2019
“But Neil Gorsuch is not a better man,” he continued. “Instead of just killing the murderer and being done with it, Gorsuch could not resist seeing the Bucklew case as an opportunity to experiment with justifications of the state’s right to inflict suffering that have long been discarded by decent people.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the minority dissent. She rebuked Gorsuch’s position that Bucklew’s execution must not be delayed any longer.
“There are higher values than ensuring that executions run on time,” Sotomayor wrote. “If a death sentence or the manner in which it is carried out violates the Constitution, that stain can never come out. Our jurisprudence must remain one of vigilance and care, not one of dismissiveness.”
Time now for some real talk.
Cop: It’s Time To Reexamine That Whole “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” Thing
I was a cop for almost two years before I lost faith in our judicial system.
We had put a bad guy behind bars. Like, a real scumbag. Child rapist. Murderer. The guy did the kinds of things you wouldn’t want to imagine in your worst nightmares.
Surely he’d be executed. Best case scenario for him was a life in prison without parole. Or so I thought.
We had him dead-to-rights. None of this “oh, maybe he didn’t do it” crap. He was caught in cold blood. Game over.
Except… it wasn’t game over. A liberal judge ended up handing down a light sentence. Why? Because the guy had a though childhood.
Tough childhood? TOUGH CHILDHOOD? Before the younger brother of the little boy who was destroyed for life enters college, this piece of shit will be once again walking the streets.
Because HE had a “tough childhood”.
I’ve kept this story to myself for years. This… and so many other failings of our judicial system. But it’s changed me as a cop.
For years, I believed I could make a difference in the world. Impact lives. But bad guys away for life. Remove their ability to hurt more people.
But now I can’t even get a traffic ticket upheld in court in a liberal state because… “feelings”.
Enough of this shit. America has lost its backbone. We’ve gotten soft.
So I put on the news last week, which was my first mistake. And that’s where I see the story of the Governor of California deciding “no more death penalty”.
He signed an executive order, putting a moratorium on the death penalty in California, which he called the culmination of a personal, 40-year journey. That grants reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions, spits in the face of voters, and slaps the officers who convicted these killers right in the face and punches the families of those awaiting justice right in the gut.
Have you been following what’s been happening in the news?
Democrats who have decided they don’t like laws aren’t working to follow the legal process to change them – they are just defying them. “Sanctuary states.” The electoral college. The 2ndAmendment.
So while we’re at it, why not throw the 8thAmendment into the mix?
Cruel and unusual punishment is a phrase describing punishment that is considered unacceptable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on the person subjected to it.
But who defines that, anyway?
Let’s dive a little deeper into it.
“Cruel” is defined as:
“Willfully causing pain or suffering to others, or feeling no concern about it.”
So by that definition, isn’t putting someone behind bars considered “cruel”?
Isn’t taking away a driver’s license from someone with four DUI’s causing him suffering? Isn’t any given sentence meant to prevent a repeat of the crime by, even as a secondary goal, creating some form of suffering? I’d argue that “cruel” is simply a standard set by society.
And what is “unusual”? Isn’t unusual also simply a societal standard?
It’s defined as:
“Not habitually or commonly occurring or done.”
So… do it more often and it’s no longer “unusual”.
Take, for example, a sex change. A decade ago, it would have been considered entirely unusual. Now it’s not only more common, but it’s flat out glorified by the mainstream media and Hollywood.
So why aren’t we arbitrarily redefining what “cruel and unusual” punishment means?
Take sex offenders, for example.
If a Democrat who pledged his entire career can override voters and arbitrarily remove killers from death row, couldn’t a Republican who pledged his entire career to protect woman and children order the medical removal of the male anatomy from a rapist?
My point is simple. The law isn’t meant to be fluid – it’s meant to be the law.
It’s high time we stopped putting criminals and the feelings of Democrats who don’t like it ahead of those who enforce it… and those whose lives were destroyed by those who broke it.