What Thomas Jefferson Said about Elena Kagan and Juvenile Life Without Parole

  • Today’s news is the Supreme Court decision that juveniles cannot be confined in prison without the possibility of parole for offenses committed while juveniles (in this case, a very clumsy store robbery by a 16 year old with a crowbar).
  • Yesterd

ay’s news was the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Between them come all kinds of accusations about judicial activism and judges re-writing the constitution.

One more thing. Also between these events I visited the Jefferson Memorial with some family in Washington, DC. Here’s what’s inscribed in the wall. Jefferson’s own words:

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
http://www.monticello.org/reports/quotes/memorial.html

Jefferson is entitled to an opinion about constitutional intent. He was there. (Scalia wasn’t).

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