Here's why Atkins v. Virginia and Ford v. Wainwright were wrongly decided.
I couldn't possibly care less whether he's insane or retarded. Moral culpability has nothing to do with the reasons people are executed. I wish people would just say what they mean.
Type A - "Focus on the Family"
People who want him executed say: "we want closure for the family."
People who want him executed mean: "we want revenge."Nothing wrong with that, I like revenge as much as the next Edmond Dantes, but I also think that it's not something I want my government doing. I honestly prefer vigilante justice in the raw form. I'd much rather have a pack of thugs go after Andrea Yates than a sterile governmental facility.
Type B - "Not in my garden of earthly delights"
People who don't want him executed say: "he's insane, it's unjust to execute the insane."
People who don't want him executed mean: "It's unjust to execute anybody." OR "Find me a murderer who's not insane."
Sorry, I don't see a whole lot of people outside of Justice Kennedy and Justice Sandra Day O'Scale who really think that there's a credible moral distinction between executing someone like Ted Bundy and executing someone who's insane.
This isn't the abortion rape & incest debate thing, which I find similarly misguided, if you're really pro-life and you can have any exceptions, you are exceptionally retarded. As soon as you step away from your moral absolutist position, you've lost all traction with your argument, because then you're engaged in O'Connor's garbage balancing tests, figuring out whether it's more wrong that the person was raped and has to carry a wonderful blessing from God or more wrong to kill the blessing from God.I'm not far off from either of the unspoken meanings in type B. I really think it's hard to classify people into the M'Naghten groups of incapable of appreciating that their action is wrong or not. Both people are totally mentally ill. If you kill for pleasure, you've got serious mental illness, you just might not have the right kind of mental illness. I'm not going to say that it's any more volitional, though, if you really have that all-consuming urge. The murderers who aren't mentally ill -- usually committing murders of policemen, other gang members, during robberies -- still would fall into my idea of mental illness, because I cannot honestly fathom the ability to kill another person as a volitional act. Apparently, there are millions of people who disagree with me, which is frightening, but necessary. (An army of conscientious objectors wouldn't have beaten the Nazis for long)
In any event, he's going to be executed, because the Supreme Court's not going to step in. Moreover, Tim Kaine is opposed to the death penalty, but had his hand forced in the election to vow to execute every person he saw. His re-election and his soul may depend on the choice he makes...but that said, he's a politician. He'll choose the former.