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The Supreme Court did it again this week. It applied an arbitrary standard for a life and death issue. The Court ruled 5-4 that no one under 18 may be put to death in this country, no matter how dreadful the crime.
The case involved Christopher Simmons (search), who was a 17-year-old high school junior in suburban St. Louis when he murdered a woman. He told a friend he wanted to murder someone. Simmons and an accomplice broke into a neighbor's home, tied up the woman and then threw her off a railroad bridge to drown. He later bragged to others about what he had done.
The five justices said it is cruel and unusual punishment for the state to deprive anyone of life if he is under 18. Too bad they don't care as much about the woman whose life was taken from her by an evil teenager.
Evil doesn't discriminate according to age.
Lee Boyd Malvo (search), one of the Beltway snipers who terrorized Washington a few years ago, will now escape the death penalty. Too bad his victims didn't escape his death penalty.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said: "The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood."
Orthodox Jews don't believe that. Their line is 12 years and one day for girls and 13 years for boys.
Kennedy also said world opinion must be taken into consideration. Justice O'Connor has said similar things, as if world opinion ought to be equal to the United States Constitution.
We are rapidly moving away from a concept of true moral guilt and just desserts to a psychobabble view of behavior. No one is personally responsible for his choices or behavior anymore and the Court is reflecting that post-modern attitude.
So the Court extends a zone of protection to anyone under the age of 18, even if they commit mass murder. But it has removed any zone of protection for an innocent unborn child and permits abortion on demand.
What kind of twisted morality and twisted law is that? It makes the coming battle for the Supreme Court even more important.
And that's Column One for this week.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America". Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.