June 26, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced a constitutional amendment today reaffirming the right of states’ to use the death penalty for crimes against children. Chabot introduced H. J. Res. 96 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision yesterday, which held that the Eighth Amendment bars the death penalty for crimes, including the rape of children, when the crime does not result in death.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a travesty,” said Chabot, who served six years as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. “Children look to their parents, family, and to the criminal justice system for protection. What message does it send to our kids that we will put the interests of pedophiles and abusers ahead of the interests of our children? It’s inexcusable.”
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the Louisiana case of Patrick Kennedy that Kennedy’s death sentence amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment” and violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Kennedy had been convicted in 2003 of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter. Chabot, who also serves as Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Missing and Exploited Children, said his constitutional amendment will “ensure that those who seek to harm children in unspeakable ways can receive the ultimate punishment.”