The death penalty, free speech and prison sentences are back on the agenda, along with new topics such as medical marijuana and out-of-state wine purchases that are likely to produce significant disagreement....Here's the death penalty issue:
A case sure to elicit strong opinions will be argued this month when justices are asked to rule on the constitutionality of executing killers who committed their crimes when they were juveniles....Let the punishment fit the crime, I say. Don't gas the guy, throw him off a railrod bridge.
The juvenile case will decide the fate of about 70 people on death row who killed when they were teenagers, including a Missouri man who was 17 when he helped push a woman off a railroad bridge in 1993. The United States is among only a few countries that allow execution for crimes committed before age 18.
This year's top free speech case asks if the government can force cattle producers to pay for programs such as the "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" ad campaign. The court's ruling is significant because the government forces growers of many agricultural products, from eggs to alligators, to share expenses for marketing. The eventual ruling would affect nonagriculture government programs, too....And farmers and ranchers, of course, are passing on the cost of those ad campaigns to consumers. So, by forcing farmers and ranchers to support the ad campaigns, the government is effectively forcing taxpayers to subsidize advertising. Why doesn't the government just ship 10 percent to the ad agencies and drop the advertising? We'd all be better off.
As for medical marijuana, maybe it should be legalized, with a proviso that marijuana growers must join forces with the Miller Brewing Company for a "high time" advertising campaign.
Allowing inter-State shipment of wine to individual consumers should be an easy one. If a State allows the importation of alcoholic beverages pursuant to the 21st Amendment -- and I guess all States do -- then barring the shipment of wine to individual consumers within the State amounts to State regulation of interstate commerce, which is reserved to the federal government. Next case.