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Louisiana prosecutors asked the Supreme Court on Monday to revisit its recent decision outlawing the death penalty for people convicted of raping children.

The unusual request is based on the failure of anyone involved in the case — lawyers on both sides as well as the justices — to take account of a change in federal law in 2006 that authorizes the death penalty for members of the military who are convicted of child rape.

The court almost never grants such requests, but lawyers for Louisiana said their situation was different because the 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy relied in part on what Kennedy called a "national consensus" against executing convicted rapists.

The ruling on June 25 drew harsh criticism from politicians in Louisiana and other states where executing those who rape children was authorized or under consideration. Presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama also said they disagreed with the outcome of the case.

But only in the days following the decision did anyone point out that Congress changed the law and that President Bush signed an executive order in September 2007 that implemented the change. It was first discussed on a military law blog.


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