I have an article up about the Kennedy case at the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Unfortunately, a subscription is required. Here is a taste:
It isn't often one sees the American Civil Liberties Union along with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on the same side of a legal argument as victims' rights organizations like the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Yet, that is exactly what is unfolding in the case of Kennedy v. Louisiana. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the case to determine the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for the aggravated rape of a child.
Many court watchers have noted that this case has the potential to reshape Eighth Amendment law and determine if the increasing number of states with capital child rape statutes will grow further. However, what makes this case truly exceptional is the unusual political alliance that has formed in opposition to Louisiana's law.
Unlike virtually every other capital punishment case, death penalty abolitionists are not fighting against victims' rights organizations. Instead, both groups find themselves in the position of arguing that Louisiana's death penalty statute is fundamentally ill-conceived. Several victims' rights organizations have gone as far as filing a brief with the Supreme Court in favor of Patrick Kennedy, the man convicted of raping his eight-year old stepdaughter.
I'll have a bunch more about the case all next week since the oral argument is on Wednesday.