June 25th, 2008
04:47 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama splits with Supreme Court on rape executions

Obama speaks to reporters in Chicago on Wednesday.

Obama speaks to reporters in Chicago on Wednesday.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he disagrees with a Supreme Court decision striking down the death penalty for child rapists, telling reporters Wednesday that states should be able to execute people for "heinous" crimes.

"I think that the rape of small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime," the Illinois senator said. "And if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that does not violate our Constitution."

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that capital punishment can be applied only to murderers, striking down a death sentence for a Louisiana man convicted of sexually assaulting his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

The convict, Patrick Kennedy, would have been the first rapist in 44 years to be executed for a crime in which the victim was not killed.

Obama previously has said he believes the death penalty should be available to states, but that it must be applied fairly.

soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Amy King

    Absolutely!! I agree with his view on this. It is a heinous crime and capital punishment should be used cautiously and applied fairly.

    June 25, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. zina

    I respectfully disagree with the Senator on this one, but understand his position because he is the father of 2 girls in that age group.

    Obama '08

    June 25, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Child abuse is nothing less than an act of 'soul murder.' It strips the child of their innocent spirit forever.

    June 25, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Niky

    I am sure, being a parent he understands that a child's rape is almost like his/her murder.

    June 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Rachel

    Hmm I actually agree with Obama on this. I say you rape a child I don't care if you fry. The only problem with this is as we have seen boys who who are 17 and have sex with 15 year olds end up getting locked up, which I dont think is right. My fear is that you would have nut job judges and jurys trying to put teens to death for having sex.

    June 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. LMS

    Obama is a constitutional scholar. We need him as President.

    June 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Loretta from California

    The death penalty (for such a crime as this) should be decided on a case by case basis. Isn't this the way it is done with all murderers? The more heinous the crime, the harsher the penalty.

    June 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Being a father of two girls Obama will kick you know what if anyone harmed them. I have three girls myself and I agree 110% with Obama I think the court was wrong on this one.

    June 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. Nicole - Renton, WA

    Chalk up another point for Obama! Good for him for speaking out on such a controversial subject... child rapists are the worst scum on earth and it's absolutely pathetic that they're continuously released time and time again to repeatedly commit the same crime. What a bunch of worthless scumbags. Get rid of that trash!

    Getting closer and closer to saying "Obama '08"...

    June 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. Eddy

    This is Obama playing to the rednecks. Some politicians will do anything to get elected. I didn't think he was that kind of man.

    June 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. EQ

    Finally a President (hopeful) that says what he really feels and believes and not what he thinks those with money and power want him to!

    The judges who voted against the death penalty should all be ashamed of themselves. This is about the children, not their political and religious ties!

    June 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |

    I agree w/Obama! This is happening too often in this country and sometimes the only way to put fear in a person is to let them know that the punishment will be great!

    June 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. Yes to Obama

    YES killers and rapists should get the death penalty... put him on the chair...bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..bye bye ...

    June 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Just Sayin..

    This is the first time I have actually disagreed with Barack. Im sorry, but you don't kill a killer. You make them think about what they have done....thats worse. I still love you Barack, but i 100% disagree...

    June 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. micheal

    I yes for the death penalty . its cost the taxs payers $54.000.00 dollars a year to take care of each person a year so take can eat and live and which t.v for free when take are in the big house as you call it. lawyer cost all also they take it to court over and over that what the lawyers like free money..... if they did it death penalty no ? of it...... i say yes....

    June 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. KD

    This is the new kind of politician? Agreeing with the death penalty? The pathetic pandering from a pathetic man starts..........Sigh

    June 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |

    Kill ALL those who hurt our babies...I cannot imagine a punishment more fitting.

    June 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. Doris,Memphis,TN

    I agree with Obama.
    He is not afraid to stand up for what is right!
    Even when it unpopular.
    Not a FLIP FLOPPER like McBandaid!

    June 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Obama Supporter

    I agree. I'm not even pro-death penalty, but I think even more than murderers, child rapists deserve to be taken out back and shot. It certainly isn't cruel and unusual in my mind...

    June 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Good for you Sen. Obama.

    June 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. New Day

    I disagree with Obama on this. I think that the punishment should fit the crime. Maybe castration?

    June 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Alex

    I don't like the death penalty, unless the crime was so bad like killing 10 people, however I don't care much about it.

    June 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. MD

    He is a candidate who thinks for himself. I do disagree with him on this issue, however, his ability to lead is the main reason why I support him.

    June 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Jason

    Obama helped illinios do away with the death penalty. Look at his record. Because of Obama and other legislators Illinios can't do the death penalty in these circumstances. McCain released a statement on this. McCain feels strongly about this. Obama released no statement on this. He had to be asked about this.

    June 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. EDW

    Well, the Catholic church better start running when he becomes PREZ.

    June 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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