(Washington, DC) – In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided today that an IQ test alone cannot be used to determine eligibility for the death penalty.
The last time the Supreme Court ruled on the death penalty as it relates to those with mental impairment was in 2002, when it determined that executing the mentally disabled was considered cruel and unusual punishment and violated an individual’s Constitutional rights.
A score of 70 on a standard IQ test is generally accepted for an inmate to show they are mentally disabled – and therefore ineligible for death row.
Aside from the morality or immorality of the death penalty, justices pointed out that there is a margin of error with any IQ test, so some inmates may have higher IQ results but still may be considered mentally disabled.
As a result, inmates must be allowed other ways to prove they are mentally unfit for execution.
“This is a victory for death row inmates everywhere,” said a lawyer with no scruples, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Now they don’t have to simply fudge their IQ test results to get a reprieve. There will be other opportunities to show they’re not candidates for execution – no matter how heinous or gruesome the crime they’ve committed.”
But some pro-death penalty advocates worry that criminals now essentially have a pass to commit murder, robbery, rape, and other nasty crimes.
“This is giving them a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card,” said a pro-death penalty spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Now the scum of the earth can feel free to butcher as they please, knowing that they won’t be executed for their crimes. The most they’ll face is life in prison with cable television, free meals, a gym membership, and the opportunity for a formal education – all free.”
With today’s ruling, politicians breathed a sigh of relief across the political spectrum.
“Now, no member of Congress, no state representative, no governor, no elected official will ever have to worry about facing the death penalty,” said a political scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Because no matter their IQ, politicians routinely show they’re mentally incompetent.”