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April 16, 2008

Will the Baze decision (and the Kennedy argument) make the death penalty a hot political issue?

As regular readers know, I have been eagerly awaiting a time when the death penalty is a major political issue in the 2008 campaign.  Notably, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana — not no mention the federal government — all have very interesting death penalty practices and politics.  And, with the Baze lethal injection ruling today and the Kennedy child rape oral argument, the news cycle will surely be focused on death penalty issues over the next few days.

I am very hopeful and eager for reporters and pundits to ask all the major candidates a lot of hard questions about the death penalty, in part because I do not think any of them have good talking points on the intricate (and politically complicated) "culture of life" issues that the modern system of capital punishment raises.  I am not optimistic that we will have a sober or sensible political discussion of the modern death penalty, but at least we may have a sound-bite one that will provide grist for my blogging mill.

Some recent related posts:

April 16, 2008 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

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You might have heard that the lethal injection protocol decision, Baze, was issued today. As you would expect, the place to go for coverage of the case is Sentencing Law Policy. Since a major Eighth Amendment decision was issued on [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 16, 2008 1:30:38 PM

Comments

On a day when the Pope is greeted and honored by the White House, it is to be hoped that someone will stand up for the Human Rights message that, as .....
Bush said "we need your message that all human life is sacred."

Bush also said that "in a world where some no longer believe that we can distinguish between simple right and wrong, we need your message to reject this dictatorship of relativism."

Rhetoric as usual? I think so.

Posted by: peter | Apr 16, 2008 11:32:02 AM

I, too, found it ironic (and sad) that on the same day the Pope visits America and Bush makes these comments, SCOTUS issues this opinion, rejecting the idea that we prohibit "unneccesary risk" in executing our condemned.

Posted by: | Apr 16, 2008 12:11:50 PM

I see it differently: on the day the pope visits American, Catholics must explain to him why Congress and the state legislatures still impose the death penalty in the US and can’t hide behind a Supreme Court decision declaring it unconstitutional as applied.

Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 16, 2008 12:29:24 PM

People forget that this is also National Crime Victims' Rights Week. ( http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/2008/04/scotus_notes_9.html ) The prize goes to the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation's Kent Scheidegger, who urged the Court to terminate this absurd moratorium on the death penalty this week.

Posted by: realist | Apr 16, 2008 12:30:58 PM

Well, the Victims Rights Industry can’t really take credit for preserving the status quo, and drawing a fractured opinion which has little to do with actually caring what “victims” think.

Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 16, 2008 12:53:53 PM

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