Jindal approves castration for sex offenders

The Louisiana governor signs a bill mandating the castration of sex offenders convicted of a second offense, and rails against SCOTUS's decision on his state's death penalty laws.

By Vincent Rossmeier
Published June 26, 2008 6:29PM (EDT)

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that it's unconstitutional to execute someone for a case of child rape "where the victim's life was not taken." The decision provoked white hot fury from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose state's law was the one specifically struck down.

In a statement released on his Web site, Jindal, who has been mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain, said, "I am outraged by the Supreme Court's decision. It is an affront to the people of Louisiana and the jury's unanimous decision in this case." He went on to add his opinion that "the Supreme Court is dead wrong," and that "the five members of the Court who issued the opinion do not share the same 'standards of decency' as the people of Louisiana." Jindal then vowed to find a way to maintain the death penalty for child rape in Louisiana.

A little later in the day, Jindal signed a bill that authorizes the use of physical and chemical castration on sexual offenders in Louisiana. The measure applies not just to child predators but also to those guilty of rape, incest or molestation of a minor. After a first conviction, state courts have the option of ordering castration. Following a second conviction, though, the courts are now required to issue a sentence that includes castration. The convicted individuals must still serve their full prison terms. Jindal also supported measures that forbid sex offenders from wearing masks or costumes on Halloween or any other holiday.

This isn't the first time Jindal has made headlines recently on an issue that will further endear him to conservatives. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the governor's support for a bill that would allow a form of creationism to be taught in the state's schools.

Like Jindal, Barack Obama also voiced his opposition to the Supreme Court's decision, but his opposition was decidedly more restrained. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said, "I think that the rape of small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime ... 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."

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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