The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that states using IQ tests as bright lines in determining mental competency for death row inmates is unconstitutional. The decision in Hall v. Florida extended protections for intellectually disabled death row inmates like Freddie Lee Hall, asserting that states must do more to prove that these individuals have proper due process and their Eighth Amendment right of no “cruel and unusual punishment” is not being violated.
The general question of executing those of diminished mental capacity speaks to our morals as a nation. Why is it that we spare intellectually disabled individuals from the death penalty? According to the court, it is because it speaks to our “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." In other words, there are certain standards which we must uphold as a society that speak to our human dignity.
But our moral compass as a society is constantly in flux. Brand new polling from Gallup finds that Americans find “married men and women having an affair” to be more morally indefensible than the death penalty, which is putting someone to death. In fact, having an affair was the least morally acceptable issue (7% acceptable) compared to all others surveyed, including cloning humans (13% acceptable), suicide (19% acceptable), abortion (42% acceptable) or having a baby outside of marriage (58%).
Are we losing our moral compass as a nation?
SCOTUS Decision: Hall v Florida
Supreme Court strikes down Florida law on intellectually disabled death row inmates (Washington Post)
New Record Highs in Moral Acceptability
Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
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