(The Hill) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed a bill that would make child rapists eligible for the death penalty in the state.
“In Florida, we believe it’s only appropriate that the worst of the worst crimes deserve the worst of the worst punishment,” DeSantis said.
Under the new legislation, child rapists get a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole and are eligible for capital punishment.
The legislation goes against a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the court found it unconstitutional for states to use the death penalty as punishment for the rape of a child if the victim had not died.
DeSantis’s office said he’s “prepared to take this law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule judicial precedents” which the Florida governor believes has “unjustly shielded child rapists from the death penalty.”
The bill was among a few the governor approved on Monday, dubbing them “law and order” measures. One initiative makes it a first-degree felony to possess, sell or manufacture the drug fentanyl and other controlled substances “that resemble candy,” and makes people who traffic such substances eligible for a life sentence.
“While crime is spiraling out of control in many other parts of this country, Florida is enacting policies that are tough on crime and as a result, Florida is at a 50 year crime low,” DeSantis said in a post.
Last month, DeSantis signed a bill ending the state’s requirement of a unanimous jury recommendation for a death sentence in a capital case.
The Florida legislature is set to end its session later this week. DeSantis, a rumored possible contender for the GOP presidential primary who hasn’t officially launched a bid, had previously said he would make a decision about whether to get in the 2024 race once the state’s legislative session wrapped up.