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July 31, 2017

"The Republican Party, Conservatives, and the Future of Capital Punishment"

The title of this post is the title of this new article authored by Ben Jones now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The United States has experienced a significant decline in the death penalty during the first part of the 21st century, as death sentences, executions, public support, and states with capital punishment all have declined.  Many recent reforms banning or placing a moratorium on executions have occurred in blue states, in line with the notion that ending the death penalty is a progressive cause.  Challenging this narrative, however, is the emergence of Republican lawmakers as champions of death penalty repeal legislation in red states.  This Article puts these efforts by Republican lawmakers into historical context, and explains the conservative case against the death penalty: its incompatibility with limited government, fiscal responsibility, and promoting a culture of life.  Understanding Republican opposition to capital punishment takes on particular importance now following setbacks to efforts against the death penalty in the 2016 election.  In this environment, building support among Republicans and conservatives likely will prove critical for taking further steps toward limiting and eventually ending the death penalty in the U.S.

July 31, 2017 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

Comments

The problem with conservatives and the DP isn't conceptual but practical.

"In this environment, building support among Republicans and conservatives likely will prove critical for taking further steps toward limiting and eventually ending the death penalty in the U.S."

Sure, sure that's true and its also essential to ending a woman's right to choose. If anyone wants to have a good laugh there is nothing like watching the intellectual contortions liberals go through to justify why (a) killing animals is bad and (b) killing criminals is bad but (c) killing babies in the womb is super duper wonderful. Such gyrations are not and never will be persuasive. So liberals should be very careful cavorting with conservative DP abolitionists as they are likely to get way more than they bargained for.


Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2017 11:15:33 AM

"If anyone wants to have a good laugh there is nothing like watching the intellectual contortions liberals go through to justify why (a) killing animals is bad and (b) killing criminals is bad but (c) killing babies in the womb is super duper wonderful."

Confusion leads to humor.

The average liberal isn't a vegetarian though the average person, liberal or not, accepts abortion should be allowed at least in limited cases. This would in practice lead to tens of thousands of abortions. Reasonably so. They also don't like hurting animals, though they rather clearly unevenly apply the principle when it doesn't involve dogs or something for purposes of taste. Finally, the average person thinks only a small subset of people should be killed, even the average murderer. Since some 25 year old murderer is different than a woman aborting a month old embryo. Again, reasonably so.

Liberals and conservatives can agree upon certain things though they support them often for different reasons. At some point, there will be disagreement. But, even if one is morally against abortion, experience has shown criminalization as compared to other methods is not the best way writ large to deal with the situation, especially given modern reality of abortion pills and our own constitutional tradition. Jimmy Carter, a liberal against abortion, said as much in a recent book.


Posted by: Joe | Jul 31, 2017 11:51:36 AM

@joe

Thanks for illustrating my point so vividly.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2017 1:29:43 PM

I only accept thanks for things I have actually done.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 31, 2017 1:53:57 PM

Prof. Berman should invite conservatives to this blog, for conservative cutting edge thinking. The death penalty should be abolished by federal statute.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 31, 2017 5:12:28 PM

@David

"for conservative cutting edge thinking."

I much prefer liberal cutting edge thinking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillotine

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 31, 2017 6:51:04 PM

The guillotine was a left wing, Jacobin, do gooder sentencing reform from evolving standards of decency.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 31, 2017 8:18:15 PM

18th Century French guy contemplating punishment while cooking ... how about I rejigger this food chopping machine as a means to chop off heads? Started a bit messy since he was into julienne style vegetables.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 31, 2017 9:33:10 PM

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