Steve Benen: Michael Moore had an item this afternoon about the looming Troy Davis execution:
“President Obama: Can’t you do like Kennedy & send in federal troops to stop this injustice in Georgia? The buck stops with u.”
… I can appreciate why it might seem as if the buck always stops with a president, but in the Davis case, it’s not Obama’s call.
When presidents during the civil rights era ordered federal troops into the South, they were enforcing federal law. Eisenhower and JFK clearly had the authority to act …. Obama doesn’t have the authority to “send in federal troops” to stop the execution.
….. presidential clemency isn’t an option here ….. he has no legal authority to get involved, officially, with a state execution. When the death penalty is imposed for a state crime like murder, it is a state issue.
LA Times: The U.S. Supreme Court stopped Texas officials Thursday evening from executing a Houston murderer who was sentenced to die after jurors were told he posed a greater danger to public safety because he was black.
The justices acted on an emergency appeal after Texas Gov. Rick Perry and state judges refused to intervene.
… Duane Edward Buck, a 48-year-old auto mechanic, was sentenced to die for the 1995 shootings of an ex-girlfriend and another man. His attorneys did not dispute his guilt but argued that prosecutors should not have used his race to argue for a death sentence.
… Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst did not respond to pleas urging them to grant Buck a 30-day reprieve. Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, was campaigning in Iowa on Thursday, leaving Dewhurst to preside over the execution….
…. Last week, Perry said during a GOP presidential debate that he “never struggled” over the death penalty because “the state of Texas has a very thoughtful, very clear process in place.” During Perry’s 11 years in office, the state has carried out 235 executions.
The sentencing dispute arose because of an unusual provision in Texas’ death penalty law. Jurors were required to weigh whether a convicted murderer would pose a future danger if he were sentenced to life in prison rather than death. In a series of cases, Dr. Walter Quijano, a psychologist, testified that blacks posed a greater risk of “future dangerousness” than whites…..
Steve Benen: For eight years, just about every time George W. Bush was in the same room as someone with a post-graduate degree, the failed former president would tell the same joke: “I remind people that, like when I’m with Condi I say, she’s the Ph.D. and I’m the C-student, and just look at who’s the president and who’s the advisor.”
Republican crowds always cheered the line, reinforcing the anti-intellectual attitudes that too often dominate conservative thought … Rick Perry is cut from the same cloth.
… Perry made the joke during a speech yesterday at Liberty University, a school founded by crazed televangelist Jerry Falwell. The Texas governor didn’t say much about politics, but he spent a fair amount of time talking about what a lousy student he was.
Perry noted, for example, that at his small high school, “I graduated in the top 10 of my graduating class – of 13.” The crowd laughed and applauded.
…. Perry isn’t just celebrating anti-intellectualism; he’s living it. He doesn’t care what biologists, climate scientists, economists, historians, or dictionaries have to offer; Perry already has all the information he needs….