Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 reports that the prosecutors in the case of accused serial infant murderer Kermit Gosnell are going to seek the death penalty:

Prosecutors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announced today they will seek the death penalty for abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who faces charged related to killing a woman in a botched abortion and killing babies infanticides.

Gosnell was charged along with several family members and staffers who worked at his abortion center and were involved in either the failed abortion, the infanticides (which number in the hundreds but for with Gosnell and company have been charged on seven counts), or in relation to covering up and crimes and hiding obstructing justice.

Assistant District Attorneys Joanne Pescatore and Christine Wechsler confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper that they are looking at pursuing the death penalty related to Gosnell and former Gosnell employees Lynda Williams, Steven Massof and Adrienne Moton. The three are accusing of assisting Gosnell in the infanticide “abortions” where unborn children late in pregnancy were purposefully birth in order to kill them by using medical scissors to “snip” their spinal cords.

I’m against the death penalty, and would consider it appropriate punishment for Gosnell to spend the rest of his life in solitary forced to listen to recordings of the cries of the children he killed 24 hours a day. In this case, however, I can’t say that it would break my heart for him to be sentenced to die. At the age of 70, given the length of time for appeals in capital cases, the chances are that he will still die in prison of natural causes, but will have had the specter of execution hanging over him teh entire time. There may be some justice in that, as well.

I love Ed Morrissey‘s headline on this story: “SCOTUS: No jackass exception to the First Amendment.” It’s probably the right decision, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. According to the Washington Post:

A nearly unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects even hurtful speech about public issues and upheld the right of a fringe church to protest near military funerals.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing “is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible.” But he said government “cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

“As a nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate,” Roberts said.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was the lone dissenter.

“Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case,” Alito wrote.

You can find the majority decision here, and the dissent here. I’ve only had a chance to read excerpts so far, and as I said I think it was probably rightly decided, but Alito makes a very good case for Westboor’s opponent based on his status as a private citizen and the invective that was aimed directly at his dead son, who though a Marine was also a private rather than public figure.

I still think the best way to face down Westboor is public ridicule, and hope that those who oppose these anti-Christian cultists will do so at every public opportunity.