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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 16, 2012/ 26 Tammuz, 5772

Life terms for teen killers: Neither cruel nor unusual

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In a Colorado town in 1996, Verle Mangum bludgeoned Janet and Jennifer Davis to death.

Janet, a 42-year-old nurse's aide, had come home from work and discovered Mangum, then 17, having sex with her 11-year-old daughter, Jennifer. When Janet reached for the phone to call the police, Mangum picked up a baseball bat and fatally bashed her with it. He then used the bat to murder Jennifer as she cowered in the bedroom.

A jury eventually convicted Mangum of both murders. Under Colorado law he was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. In 2007, when the convictions were upheld on appeal, the prosecutor expressed relief. "This was one of the most heinous crimes in the history of our community," District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told the Grand Junction (Colo.) Free Press. "It is very gratifying to know for sure that he will be staying in prison for the rest of his life."

But that's no longer a sure thing -- not after the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Miller v. Alabama last month that the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishments" does not allow states to mandate life without parole for murderers who were minors when they committed their crime. Mangum, like at least 2,000 other juvenile killers serving mandatory life terms, including more than 60 in Massachusetts, will now have to be resentenced. The families of murder victims nationwide have now lost the reassurance that their loved ones' killers would never be turned loose. Survivors may be forced to testify all over again. There is no telling how many monsters like Mangum will end up serving less -- perhaps much less -- than the life sentence the judge and jury imposed.

Hautzinger, outraged by the decision, said its impact would be "inhuman." And when Mitt Romney held a town-hall meeting in Grand Junction last week, the DA showed up and asked him to comment on what the Supreme Court had done. But Romney sidestepped. He said only that he would "look at the particular case," and that he favors "swift and severe punishment" for serious crimes.

What Romney should have said was that the court's ruling was illogical and indefensible -- a textbook case of justices turning their personal preferences into constitutional commands.

There is nothing uncommon about laws requiring life without parole for juvenile murderers, so such punishment can hardly be barred by the Eighth Amendment. As Justice Elena Kagan's majority opinion concedes, legislators in 28 states plus the federal government have enacted laws mandating that penalty. Courts have meted it out thousands of times. Liberals may disapprove of mandatory "true life," but it plainly isn't unusual. By definition, therefore, it isn't "cruel and unusual."

Miller marks the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has invoked "evolving standards of decency" to rationalize a new constitutional barrier to punishing minors convicted of terrible crimes. In Roper v. Simmons (2005), the court outlawed the death penalty for any criminal who was under 18 at the time of his offense. At the time, the majority observed that "life imprisonment without the possibility of parole" would remain an option. Yet now, in what the dissent calls "classic bait and switch," the court tells states they may not insist on that option.

In Graham v. Florida (2010), meanwhile, the court ruled that juvenile offenders could not be sentenced to a lifetime behind bars for any crime but homicide, no matter how violent. (After all, said the court, "there is a line between homicide and other serious violent offenses.") But now five justices declare that mandatory life sentences are unconstitutional for youthful killers too. And it's only a matter of time, they hint broadly, until even discretionary life-without-parole is struck down.

In all these cases, the court has leaned heavily on social science and psychiatry. Since adolescents tend by nature to be more reckless and impulsive than adults, the majority argues, they cannot be assigned quite the same "moral culpability" for their deeds.

As a general rule, that's obvious; it's why the law distinguishes between adults and minors in the first place. But why should policymakers be prohibited from recognizing exceptions to the rule, and treating juveniles as adults in certain extreme circumstances?

Suppose, to go back to that terrible day in 1996, a 17-year-old had burst in on Mangum and prevented him from murdering Janet and Jennifer Davis. If public officials then wished to reward that teen for his life-saving courage, no one would suggest that the honor be diminished on the grounds that the hero's adolescent brain didn't fully grasp the significance of his valiant behavior. Most Americans would regard it as similarly unreasonable to suggest that any juvenile who acts with criminal depravity must be too mentally immature to understand what he is doing.

Supreme Court justices may personally disagree, of course. But to turn their disagreement into a constitutional imperative? To wrap their subjective views in the authority of the Eighth Amendment? That is inexcusable, and Mitt Romney ought to say so.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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