Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Supreme Court goofs; it need to fix its error

I've long wondered why prosecutors and judges are so reluctant to admit they make mistakes. If it's because they think they'll lose credibility, they should think again. Someone who admits it when they make a mistake has more credibility than someone who doesn't.

Washington Post editorial
July 5, 2008

WHEN A NEWSPAPER gets its facts wrong, it's supposed to publish a correction, and, if someone's reputation has been harmed, a retraction and apology. It can be embarrassing, but the occasional taste of crow probably does more good than harm to the media's credibility.

But what if the Supreme Court not only blows a key fact but also bases its ruling, in part, on that error? There was quite a goof in the court's 5 to 4 decision on June 25 banning the death penalty for those who rape children. The majority determined that capital punishment for child rape was unconstitutional, in part because a national consensus had formed against it... Actually, only two years ago, Congress enacted a death penalty for soldiers who commit child rape, as part of an update to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Irony of ironies: The court has cast doubt on the constitutionality of an act of Congress based on the erroneous claim that the statute did not exist.

...only after a legal blogger, Col. Dwight H. Sullivan, had pointed out the mistake did a newspaper, the New York Times, take note...