It was the second major defeat at the high court in three years for supporters of the death penalty. Justices in 2002 banned the execution of the mentally retarded, also citing the Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishments.
While I can sometimes understand the guttoral emotion that craves the slaughter of a felon, I cannot sanction something that sometimes executes the innocent. A life sentence allows for the facts to come out. A death penalty does not.
UPDATE: Prof. Althouse has (of course) presented some interesting analysis on the court's use and non-use of international law in the decision. Interesting stuff. But I guess I'm a geek, so it may not be so interesting to everyone else.
This decision is really important here in Philly. Besides the fact that we have a death-penatly hungry DA here, there are four (then under 18) kids on trial for the murder of another high school student. The crime was pre-mediated and horrifying, but what does the death penalty solve?