U.S. finally outlaws execution of children

On March 1, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that executing convicts who were under 18 when their crime was committed constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. In a commentary for TruthOut, Marjorie Cohn notes that this finally brings the US in line with the civilized world:

Until March 1, 2005, the United States was the only nation in the world that permitted the execution of children under age 18. Only seven countries besides the U.S. have executed juvenile offenders since 1990: Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and China. Since then, each of these countries has either abolished capital punishment for juveniles or made public disavowal of the practice. With the Supreme Court’s monumental ruling in Roper v. Simmons, the United States has finally joined the community of nations that says the state-sanctioned execution of children is wrong.

Opposing bringing the US into conformity with this worldwide norm of human rights were William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O’Connor and Clarence Thomas—all appointed by Nixon, Reagan or the incumbent’s dad.