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Although the law applies only to military personnel, the Supreme Court has not decided whether it could set a precedent to execute civilians who rape children.

“Although no one has been sentenced to death for child rape under the law, we note with regard to the continued constitutionality of the law that the Supreme Court has not resolved the question whether its Eighth Amendment jurisprudence applies with equal force in the context of military capital punishment,” the Justice Department statement said.

After the Supreme Court ruling last week, Mr. Jindal said he would seek to enact laws to override the decision.

The 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Eighth Amendment would forbid the death penalty for raping a child as “cruel and unusual punishment.”

The Eighth Amendment “requires that resort to capital punishment be restrained, limited in its instances of application and reserved for the worst of crimes, those that, in the case of crimes against individuals, take the victim’s life,” the decision said.

The Supreme Court’s ruling was denounced by the Bush administration as well as presumptive presidential nominees Sens. John McCain, a Republican, and Barack Obama, a Democrat.