The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5-4 that executing juvenile offenders is no longer constitutional, a dramatic reversal of precedent that laid bare angry divisions among the justices.
Citing moral imperatives as well as a growing consensus in the United States and abroad against executing those who were under 18 when they committed murder, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced the long-awaited ruling in Roper v. Simmons from the bench. “From a moral standpoint, it would be misguided to equate the failings of a minor with those of an adult, for a greater possibility exists that a minor’s character deficiencies will be reformed,” Kennedy said.
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