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March 23, 2013

New group opposing death penalty emerges at CPAC

US News and World Report has an this interesting report on a notable new group that emerged at last week's CPAC meetings.  The piece is headlined "Small Government Conservative? Group Says You Should Oppose Death Penalty," and here are excerpts:

Squeezed amid the dozens of stalls you'd expect to find last week at CPAC — stalls that were pro-gun, pro-life and pro-liberty — sat a group that was more unexpected: Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty....

But that stereotype no longer holds true.  As Maryland prepares to become the 18th state to ban the death penalty, CCADP advocacy coordinator Marc Hyden tells [Us News] the reaction the group is getting from conservatives is: "Where have you been for so long?"

Hyden says hundreds of people at CPAC signed up to join the group, which officially launched at the conference. For those who didn't sign up, Hyden, who previously worked for the NRA, came ready with reasons why they should.  He says he sways some conservatives with the pro-life, religious argument, but more often Hyden talks about the cost.

"It is widely accepted that [the death penalty] is so much more expensive than life without parole," Hyden says.  "If there is a cheaper alternative, we as fiscal conservatives should embrace it."

It may be no surprise, then, that the group has also been greeted with open arms by libertarians, whose political stars, Ron and Rand Paul, both oppose the death penalty. Several bigger names have also jumped aboard the CCADP team, including Jay Sekulow, a top litigator of free speech and religious liberty cases.  Sekulow tells [US News] he's been concerned about the death penalty from a legal perspective for years, but that there was never one conservative group that concentrated on the issue.

"We're in the infancy stages of a movement to galvanize awareness," says Sekulow, noting that several Republican governors have come out against the issue in recent years, such as Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.  "This issue now crosses political lines."

March 23, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Permalink


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Rent seeking and criminal coddling is non-partisan. The lawyer Scalia led the anti-guideline series of decisions. Being a rent seeking lawyer is a far more powerful predictor of one's stance than any superficial party affiliation or pronouncements.

The lawyer density of a nation also predicts its crime rate. They generate their own business at the point of a gun, by protecting criminals from eradication. They should be treated as a criminal syndicate if the population decides to end crime in self help. Trimming the lawyer profession to 10% its size and prohibiting it completely from all branches of government would solve all social and economic problems, since the lawyer is their cause.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 24, 2013 2:57:42 AM

Ron Paul announced a few years back that he was against the death penalty (at least on the federal level), one of many libertarians and conservatives who are against the practice. It is consistent with a distrust the government ideology as would being against it while being a conservative Christian. Others read the ideology differently [as Catholics like Brennan and Scalia did] but it isn't that surprising.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 24, 2013 11:04:20 AM

These people don't go nearly far enough. If we want cost savings from the criminal justice system, the thing to do is abolish the penalty of imprisonment, which costs the country vastly more than the death penalty.

Since cost has become the governing consideration, let's take that to its logical endpoint.

There are still those who think justice rather than dollars should be the governing consideration, but these folks (who include defense lawyers) are just old fashioned.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 24, 2013 11:25:15 AM

Bill says "Since cost has become the governing consideration, let's take that to its logical endpoint." But Bill you accept the fallacious premise that you must take things to the logical endpoint. You don't. Remember "the best is the enemy of the good."

Posted by: onlooker | Mar 24, 2013 12:39:41 PM

Jay Sekulow:: “I’m opposed to the death penalty…I think we have to be careful in executing final judgment.
The one thing my faith teaches me—I don’t get to play God.”


We ARE PAINFULLY CAREFUL—so much so that we allow non-guilt related matters to prevent scores of executions
and to delay multitudes for decades.

%...Don’t “play God”, but receive and obey the Word of God, e.g.: Genesis 9:6, Acts 25:11, and execute the murderers.

+++++ +++++

Sen. Rand Paul:: “Even in the United States where we have the best due process probably in the world,
we have probably executed people wrongfully for the death penalty…And even Republicans have pulled
back their beliefs some on death penalty.”

“Probably”…splendid argument. “Republicans have pulled back”…meaningful, how?

%...Check the evidence and fret not about politics, and you’ll see the truth.

[or watch "The Bible" on the History Channel tonight at 8:00pm ET to start.

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 24, 2013 12:53:51 PM

Make some territory a Penal Colony. Georgia served that purpose for a long time. The progeny turned out to be good citizens. Close the prisons, move em to Pin Point, GA. Or Sandy Hook.
Queens is just a prison without walls. It works.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Mar 24, 2013 12:54:20 PM

Liberty 1st:
An Australian-American once said that his erstwhile home started as
a country of criminals and has become a nation of good citizens, whereas
America started as a country of good citizens and has become a nation of criminals.

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 24, 2013 1:19:53 PM

Good one Adamakis. got to giver you that one.

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 24, 2013 4:01:42 PM

"%...Don’t “play God”, but receive and obey the Word of God, e.g.: Genesis 9:6, Acts 25:11, and execute the murderers."

Commit genocide while you're at it. Samuel 1 15:3. Be sure to kill the gays, Leviticus 20:13, along with any sorceresses you happen to come across, Exodus 22:18. Also feel free to beat your slaves into unconsciousness, as long as you don't kill them. Exodus 21:20-21.

Posted by: The Death Penalty Sucks. | Mar 24, 2013 4:41:07 PM

onlooker --

OK, if we want to avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good, why don't we keep imprisonment, but limit all sentences to two years?

Why don't we cut back public defender salaries by 10%?

Why don't we cut back rehabilitative services by 20%?

I repeat: If saving money is now to be the governing concern in criminal justice, there are many more promising places to look than the death penalty. Looking only (or primarily) there indicates less frugality than a make-weight argument for a pre-existing agenda.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 24, 2013 6:39:22 PM

The Death Penalty Sucks --

Your side uses religion as a club as least as much as the retentionist side. In one post about the Connecticut campaign to end the DP, Doug put up a pictue of Episcopal clergymen marching to support abolition. I don't recall your criticizing that religion-based tactic. Did you?

In addition, one of the best known abolitionists nationwide is Sister Perjean. That's SISTER Perjean.

If you want to renounce the use of religion in this debate, fine. Just don't denounce the use of religion for only one side of the debate.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 25, 2013 10:54:33 AM

I didn't mean to sound like I was renouncing anything. I'm a religious person myself. I was just trying to point out that Scripture contains some passages that no one in their right mind believes we should be following today.

Posted by: The Death Penalty Sucks. | Mar 25, 2013 6:45:47 PM

"The punishment for murder has undergone no alteration, either by Moses or
by Christ…ordinances being mutable, but the moral law always the same."
~~1st SCOTUS Chief Justice John Jay, also American Bible Society President, &ct., &ct.

::…Death Penalty…:: I understand your point concerning what “we should be following today”.

Without getting too deep in the weeds, there persist
2 major essentials herewith:
(1) Biblical law may be divided into ▼Moral, Civil (Israel), and Ceremonial. ▼

▼ The Moral law has never changed as wrote Chief Justice Jay, e.g. stealing livestock is still violative (immoral/sinful),
but the penalty of restoration of one or more animals according to the Civil law, is not necessarily binding on societies.▼
▼ The Ceremonial laws, such as the requirement to sacrifice a lamb for Passover, are no longer appropriate, because
the Messiah fulfilled the offering, and the functions of the priesthood.▼

(2) Accepting that Messiah Jesus has “come not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it”, (Matt 5:16-19)
and that the answer to the query: “Do we then make void the law through faith?” is: “God forbid:
yea, we establish the law.” (Rom 3:31, see Rom 6 & I Tim I:8).

One example of the moral law which predated/transcends the Civil law of Israel is the death penalty for murder (Genesis 6:9). Another is marriage.

(The Correspondence & Public Papers of John Jay, letters to John Murray 1816-1818, Henry Johnston, editor, 1893)
{for my brief bit on divisions of Biblical law, see http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2012/01/barbour-at-peace-with-pardons-but-scandal-rages-on.html}

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 25, 2013 10:22:04 PM

Although I know there is some stuff in the new testament that can be read to endorse the death penalty, couldn't it also be argued that the moral law was "thou shalt not kill," and that although this clearly survives the new covenant, it is not nearly as clear that the *penalty* of death survives? I mean, it seems convenient that the immutable code of the bible tracks so well with your political beliefs. (although I realize you would say the correlation is in the reverse order)

As an aside, Jay Sekulow is a pipe-hitting motherf---er. Look out death-penalty proponents!

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2013 1:32:56 PM

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