Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court Review

2005

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Aggravating Youth: Roper V Simmons And Age Discrimination, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2005

Aggravating Youth: Roper V Simmons And Age Discrimination, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

In Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court confronted a difficult question: Given that being younger than eighteen is merely a proxy for diminished culpability, why not let jurors decide whether youth mitigates the culpability of an individual sixteen- or seventeen-year-old offender? The Court's subtle answer draws on psychological literature about the differences between juveniles and adults, but ultimately depends as much on concerns about the mind of the adult juror as on the distinctive traits of juveniles. Read in its best light, Kennedy's opinion seems to turn on the insight that while age-based classifications are rational – they are ...