Saturday, October 31, 2015

Will the Roberts court abolish capital punishment? | TheHill

The high court under Chief Justice John Roberts has in recent terms agreed to rule on cases related to how states handle death penalty prosecutions and conduct executions, but has yet to weigh in on whether the practice violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.


The framing generation contemplated capital punishment. But even if you think "cruel and unusual" is a temporally relative term, capital punishment is not now cruel and it's only unusual because of the frankly abusive appellate process.

If a comet was heading toward Earth with extinction in tow, the last thing we should do before all the lights went out is execute everyone on death row. Well, that, and tidy up our yards.

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I gather that "cruel and unusual" is a quotation from the Bill of Rights - i.e. the English one. I imagine it marked some change in what people would tolerate - perhaps the end of drawing and quartering, frinstance. Surely its significance should be well known to legal historians.

Posted by: dearieme | Nov 1, 2015 11:35:55 AM