No Do-Overs at the Supreme Court

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Regarding the July 5 editorial "Supreme Slip-Up":

For the Supreme Court to grant a rehearing in this case would reward irresponsible parties for what is akin to malpractice. The lawyers for the state of Louisiana could have readily noted the Uniform Code of Military Justice's law regarding rape and capital punishment. They didn't. Justice Department lawyers easily could have caught it, too. They didn't. And the Supreme Court's cadre of law clerks, especially those who work for Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr., could have done some independent research and caught it. But they didn't.

Against this backdrop of professional carelessness, your editorial called for a rehearing. But this would only compound the problem. What precedent will the court set if it allows a second chance every time someone does shoddy work?

As for justice being served: Convicted child rapist Patrick Kennedy, whose case the high court decided, will live, albeit in prison. The union will survive. And the law in this area could be reconsidered in another case, such as one involving a soldier charged with child rape. Meanwhile, any request for a rehearing should be denied. Case closed.



© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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