Republican State Rep. John Becker, has stated that he will introduce a bill to expand the death penalty to certain sex offenses.

According to the Associated Press, Becker would change state law to allow the death penalty in certain cases of rape, sexual battery and improper sexual contact with a minor.

Becker – who is from Clermont County – said that his proposal is motivated by the Ariel Castro case. (Irony: Castro wouldn’t be eligible for the death penalty under Becker’s proposal.)

What is wrong with this?  Only that it is flatly unconstitutional.

In 2008, the United States Supreme Court decided Kennedy v. Louisiana  In that case, the Court declared that a Louisiana law providing for the death penalty for the rape of a child was unconstitutional.  The Court’s decision effectively prohibits states from executing persons for crimes “where the victim’s life was not taken.”  (The Court left an exception for “crimes against the state” such as treason, espionage and terrorism.

Becker’s proposal comes as Republicans in the Ohio Legislature announced plans to again push the so-called “heartbeat” anti-abortion bill.  The supporters of the bill openly acknowledge that it is unconstitutional under existing Supreme Court precedents.

Political grandstanding has a long, bipartisan, history.

Pushing for tougher penalties against criminals and sex offenders is part of the Republican playbook.  They have to try to look tough on crime even as funding to actually support law enforcement in Ohio has been cut.

But we draw the grandstanding line at the Constitution.

(We still think the new abortion restrictions in the Kasich budget are unconstiutional, BTW.)

The Ohio Constitution, § 15.07, requires that every legislator and the Governor “take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of the United States . . .” (Irony: the link to the Ohio Constitution is provided by the Ohio Legislature.)

Republicans need to start taking that oath seriously and stop introducing unconstitutional laws.

  • Laurel Hardy

    And if they don’t start taking their oath seriously, WHEN do we stand up for ourselves and our Constitution and hang them for the traitors they are?

  • Stephen Beard

    Constitution? We don’t need no stinking constitution.

  • dmoore2222

    Well they can’t talk about jobs and all the promises they made about turning Ohio around so they constantly change the subject with crap like this. People in their own party are sick of it especially when they see all the cuts to services they’re used to. After all, a straw man is still just made of straw.

  • NoRichSubsidies

    Becker is also one of the sponsors of Sub HB 203 which among other things, seeks to expand “Stand your Ground” in Ohio, aka “Shoot First”

  • Ash

    Funny how the reps always say the dems are trying to F up the constitution. Then again I don’t see how they could willingly be a rep unless they didn’t watch the news.

  • Red Rover

    Impeach them.

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