By the slimmest of majorities, 5-4, the US Supreme Court has turned all wobbly and ruled it's unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile offender to life in prison without parole unless somebody actually died. US courts can still give kids life but they have to leave open the possibility of parole maybe after 50 or 60-years or long after it really matters any more.
The case concerned a young Floridian who commited armed robberies at the age of 16 and 17. The Sunshine State likes banging up kids and boasts an impressive 70% of America's children imprisoned for life.
Chief Justice Roberts sided with Kennedy and what the New York Times describes as the court's "four liberal justices" to ban life without parole for kids. The four losers predictably included Alito, Thomas and Scalia. Thomas, in a remarkable burst of creativity, acutally said something, holding, ''I am unwilling to assume that we, as members of this court, are any more capable of making such moral judgments than our fellow citizens.'' In other words, as far as Thomas is concerned, who cares what's constitutional when the Florida legislature has okayed life without parole for kids? With his way of thinking, he'd be a stable boy on a fine, Southern plantation or at least riding at the back of the bus.
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