adBlockCheck

Supreme Court Reaches Landmark 'It Depends' Ruling

Top Headlines

Recent News

Wow, Dad Really Went From Zero To 60 With Woodworking This Summer

PAGE, AZ—Expressing their astonishment as they once again heard the sound of their father using his circular saw in the garage despite his seemingly complete lack of interest in the craft prior to last month, the children of area man Sam Morgan, 52, confirmed Tuesday that, wow, their dad had really gone from zero to 60 with woodworking this summer.

Who Is Tim Kaine?

Virginia senator Tim Kaine will be Hillary Clinton’s running mate on the Democratic Party ticket in the 2016 presidential election. Here’s what you need to know about Kaine

Lone Superdelegate Voting For Martin O’Malley Feels Like Total Fucking Idiot

PHILADELPHIA—Sheepishly raising his hand to nominate the man who suspended his presidential campaign back in February, unpledged delegate Bob Shiefke told reporters Tuesday he felt like a “total fucking idiot” for being the only person at the Democratic National Convention voting for former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

Man Entirely Different Misogynist Online Than In Real Life

CHATTANOOGA, TN—Explaining how his subtle belittlement and disrespect for women in face-to-face interactions had little in common with the bold, outspoken manner in which he degrades women when he’s on social media or website message boards, sources reported Tuesday that local man Colin McManus is a totally different misogynist online than in real life.

Michelle Obama: ‘Well, There Are 8 Years Of My Life I’ll Never Get Back’

PHILADELPHIA—Her face fixed in an expression of apathetic detachment as she took the stage Monday night to raucous cheers and applause, First Lady Michelle Obama reportedly began her address to the Democratic National Convention by exhaling audibly and remarking that she would never get the past eight years of her life back.

Revelations From The DNC Email Leak

Last week, WikiLeaks posted 20,000 email exchanges among DNC officials, the content of which led to DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation on the eve of the convention. Here are some of the key revelations from the leak

CNN Producer On Hunt For Saddest-Looking Fuck With Convention Button Collection

PHILADELPHIA—Weaving his way through the crowd of patriotically dressed attendees excitedly milling around on the floor of the Democratic National Convention, CNN segment producer Jeff Raskin reportedly went on the hunt Monday for the most pitiful-looking fuck willing to speak on camera about their political button collection.

How The IOC Plans To Address Doping

In light of its recent decision not to bar Russian athletes from competing in Rio despite their use of performance-enhancing drugs, the International Olympic Committee is working to establish more effective protocols to keep the Games drug-free. Here are some ways the IOC plans to address doping:
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Supreme Court Reaches Landmark 'It Depends' Ruling

WASHINGTON, DC—In a landmark 8-1 decision, an uncharacteristically subdued Supreme Court ruled "it depends" in the case of Panetti v. Quarterman, leaving the issue of executing the mentally ill completely open-ended.

The U.S. Supreme Court building

The entirely indeterminate ruling is a first for the high court.

The case, which challenged the extent to which the Eighth Amendment permits the execution of a mentally ill death row inmate who has a factual awareness of the reason for his punishment but does not comprehend its retributive nature, was described in Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion as being "way too tough to call."

"There were far too many variables to consider," Roberts wrote. "The death penalty is touchy enough without having to worry about how it relates to the mentally ill. This really seems like one of those things that should be decided on a case by case basis by the people involved, not by us."

The opinion further stated that the court was "intimidated" by the extreme pressure brought on by  its eminent position, arguing that it would have been much easier for the justices to deliver a firm, definitive ruling had they not been "hyper-aware" that constitutional scholars, trial lawyers, and lower-court judges would study and discuss their decision for generations to come.

"If it were just us sitting around having a few beers and shooting the breeze, it would have been, like, yeah, sure, execute the mentally ill, they should have known what they had coming to them that far into the legal process," Justice Clarence Thomas said. "But we don't want to set some huge precedent or something. So how about this: How about if mentally ill people just stop killing people altogether? That would certainly make our jobs a whole lot easier."

A source close to one of the associate justices said the deliberations were marked not only by vacillation and ambivalence, but also by a sense of frustration.

"Now Brown v. Board of Education—that was a no-brainer," said Justice Stephen Breyer, referring to the landmark school-desegregation case. "I wish I could have been on the Supreme Court then. But now I have to decide whether or not a convicted killer who 'has a delusional belief as to why the state is executing him, and thus does not appreciate that his execution is intended to seek retribution for his capital crime' can be executed? Forget it."

<p>'A lot of these cases are really hard and it's nice to know we now have a little wiggle room.' <br> <b>Justice John Paul Stevens</b></p>

"We're just nine justices—we don't have all the answers to all the country's legal problems," Breyer added.

The oral arguments by opposing attorneys Keith S. Hampton and Gena B. Bunn, though impressive, reportedly only made matters worse.

"Both attorneys were super smart and well prepared and made a lot of really good points," Justice Samuel Alito said. "When Mr. Hampton was presenting his case, I was thinking, 'Yeah, this is totally right,' and I was prepared to side with him. But then Ms. Bunn got up and sounded just as convincing, but argued the exact opposite point. It's like, who do you believe?"

Hundreds of "seriously legal-looking" documents such as amicus briefs and depositions from mental health experts only served to further confuse members of the high court.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who was sympathetic toward the respondent's position before the proceedings began, concluded that since everyone was tired, not thinking clearly, and "just wanted to get the whole thing over with," the "it depends" verdict was "probably the best, most thoughtful resolution at which [the Supreme Court] could have arrived."

Though members of Congress and the Bush administration have expressed concern with the court's unprecedented semi-decision, justices aren't ruling out the possibility of other types of indecisive rulings in the future, such as "can't be too sure," "you never know," and "not our place to say."

"A lot of these cases are really hard, and it's comforting to know that we now have a little wiggle room," said Justice John Paul Stevens, the oldest and longest-serving current member of the high court. "Take Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. v. Federal Election Commission. Maybe issue ads should be able to run less than 60 days before a public official is up for reelection, if the issue is important enough. Maybe the official should be forced to comment on the matter so his constituents know where he stands. 'It depends' would work really well in that case." 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the lone dissenting opinion, in which she stated that she knew the correct decision was either yes or no, but couldn't say which one it should be.

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close