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June 6, 2005

Rehnquist's capital legacy

The Washington Post's Charles Lane, who last week gave us this interesting piece about the death penalty in Germany, today has this strong piece exploring the legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist in the arena of capital punishment.  Here's a sample:

[O]ne clear legacy of the Rehnquist court is its contribution to accelerating the pace of executions in the United States.  The Rehnquist court, in tandem with Congress, took some key steps during the 1980s and 1990s to reduce time-consuming death row appeals. These appeals had generally taken the form of petitions in federal court for writs of habeas corpus, based on alleged constitutional defects in a particular defendant's trial.

Partly as a result, the number of executions in the United States reached a modern annual peak of 98 in 1999 — before declining to last year's total of 59.

June 6, 2005 at 12:04 PM | Permalink


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