Well, that’s a slight overstatement. But not by much. This is what the Times editorial board–a ragtag collection of third-rate leftists–tweeted:
With his first vote, the Supreme Court’s newest member sent a man to die. https://t.co/JxrNpVqmN6 pic.twitter.com/ia3DfonZMR
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) April 24, 2017
So Gorsuch “sent a man to die.” The editorial itself is only slightly less over the top:
[I]t’s worth paying special attention to Justice Neil Gorsuch’s vote late Thursday night to deny a stay of execution for Ledell Lee, an Arkansas man who was sentenced to death in 1995 for murdering a woman named Debra Reese with a tire thumper.
After Justice Gorsuch, along with the four other conservative justices, denied his final appeal without explanation, Mr. Lee, who maintained his innocence until the end, was executed by lethal injection.
Twenty-two years after he was sentenced. Liberal judges have made it almost impossible to carry out a sentence of capital punishment.
That 4-to-4 split effectively gave the deciding vote over Mr. Lee’s life to Justice Gorsuch, sitting in a seat that by all rights should be occupied not by him but by President Barack Obama’s doomed…
Doomed. For melodrama, you can count on the Times editorial board.
…nominee, Merrick Garland.
The Times is never going to give up on the “doomed” Judge Garland. For the next twenty-five years (or however long Justice Gorsuch serves) any 5-4 vote in which he participates can be the occasion for another screed about the “seat that by all rights should be occupied not by him but by President Barack Obama’s doomed” nominee.
During his confirmation hearings, Justice Gorsuch talked a lot about his respect for the rule of law, and the importance of sticking to the plain text of the Constitution and of statutes. But he didn’t have to rewrite the Eighth Amendment to see, as Justice Breyer did, that Mr. Lee’s case exemplified “how the arbitrary nature of the death penalty system, as presently administered, runs contrary to the very purpose of a ‘rule of law.’”
The Times has it exactly backward. The death penalty is part of our laws in a number of states. It is specifically contemplated by the Constitution. But liberal judges, having no regard for the rule of law, impose their own policy preferences. Because they themselves happen to oppose capital punishment, they seize on any excuse to delay executions, thereby frustrating the legal process.
The case in point is typical: it took twenty-two years for all appeals to be exhausted. The claims made on behalf of the murderer, recited by the Times as though they were factual, have been heard and rejected by a series of courts over more than two decades. At this point, only a blind adherence to ideology over the rule of law would cause a Supreme Court justice to vote in favor of an emergency stay of the murderer’s execution. In that regard, the four liberal judges on the Supreme Court have no shame.
Neither does the New York Times editorial board.
PAUL ADDS: Here are the facts about Ledell Lee, the man the Times says Judge Gorsuch “sent to die.”
Lee is sentenced to die for the 1993 murder of Debra Reese, his neighbor. He beat Reese 36 times with a tire tool her husband had given her for protection. Lee was apprehended less than an hour after the grisly death, trying to spend the $300 he had stolen from her.
DNA evidence has also linked him to the disappearance of Christin Lewis, 22. Lee is also serving time for the rapes of a Jacksonville woman and teenager.
Via Mike McDaniel.
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