« Michigan enacts Miller fix for current and future cases, just as its Justices are to consider past cases | Main | "How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America's Hidden Rape Crisis" »

March 5, 2014

Kentucky GOP representative sets out "conservative arguments in favor of repeal" of the death penalty

I just cam across this recent op-ed by David Floyd, a Republican member of Kentucky's General Assembly, explaining why he has introduced a bill to repeal his state's death penalty.  Here are some excerpts from the op-ed:

My initial opposition formed through a spiritual lens, so in 2007 I joined others in cosponsoring legislation to repeal the death penalty.  But I was the only conservative legislator in a group of liberals.  Over these last few years, “liberal” and spiritual arguments have failed to persuade other legislators to take up these bills.

How, then, might we bring other conservatives with us, and at last vote to abolish our death penalty?  This can be done by exploring together conservative arguments in favor of repeal.

• Conservatives value innocent life and should not support a state government program that can kill innocent people....

• Conservatives are mindful of the potential to abuse power that has been granted by the people, and should not trust the government with the power to execute a person who is safely behind bars....

• Conservatives are the first to call out government programs that fail to meet intended goals and cost exorbitant amounts of money....

• Conservatives want a government that will balance budgets, cut waste and eliminate programs that do not make fiscal sense.

Kentucky’s death penalty is a program that costs a lot while accomplishing little. We’ve spent well more than $100 million on the death penalty since 1976 — and executed three people.  Having a death penalty is clearly wasting taxpayer dollars, while a penalty of life without the possibility of parole makes much better economic sense....

Capital punishment in Kentucky is a broken government program that risks killing the wrongly convicted, risks abuse of power, wastes resources, is arbitrary and unjust. We’ve tried to make the death penalty work, but we have been unable to fix its many problems and reconcile it with our conservative principles. We should repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without parole.  It’s the only way to ensure that no innocent people are killed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and that those impacted by the process get finality much sooner.

March 5, 2014 at 10:55 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Kentucky GOP representative sets out "conservative arguments in favor of repeal" of the death penalty :


Good thinking .

Posted by: Docile Jim Brady @ 43209 | Mar 6, 2014 6:40:22 AM

I am going to use the Sic et Non format from St. Thomas, since this is not a legal document.

"My initial opposition formed through a spiritual lens..."

Keep your religious beliefs, whatever superstitions you harbor, out of our legislation. Imposing your false beliefs violates the Establishment Clause. There is no religion that prohibits the death penalty. It is ironic that the Church and Islam killed millions to impose their orthodoxies. The Jewish Bible is replete with mass eradication of adversaries, down to the last kitten. So this religion argument is hypocrisy, and a false argument.

"Conservatives value innocent life and should not support a state government program that can kill innocent people..."

End all other human activities that result in the deaths of innocents, including walking, since hundreds of pedestrians are killed yearly by gruesome methods.

"...and should not trust the government with the power to execute a person who is safely behind bars...."

The purpose of government is to protect us, and the death penalty is delayed self defense.

" Conservatives want a government that will balance budgets, cut waste and eliminate programs that do not make fiscal sense."

It is wrongful to end a program because it is being plundered and abused by a rent seeking criminal cult enterprise. They have inserted their hierarchy into the post policy posts of government. Arrest the rent seekers, but continue a valuable program. Stop the abuse, not the program.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 6, 2014 9:07:52 AM

Among "abolitionists" are many Catholics and others who can be pretty "conservative" on various things. So, not surprising.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 6, 2014 9:40:52 AM

How do the conservative arguments differ from the liberal ones?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 6, 2014 9:57:57 AM

S.C, I agree with you. We must reject both liberal and conservative arguments against the death penalty--even though the arguments are identical. Ater all, executions are so much fun to watch even if not as spectacular as when the guillotine was in use. Sigh. By the way, have you seen my knitting needles?

Posted by: Madame DeFarge | Mar 6, 2014 10:50:58 AM

|"I was the only conservative legislator in a group of liberals...[to] vote to abolish our death penalty"|
|"Conservatives value innocent life"|

-- Precisely the reason they do not join liberals in executing babies, whilst shielding aggravated murderers.

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 6, 2014 10:58:19 AM


There is a lively death penalty. There are 15000 people put to death by your customers. Show some awareness let alone concern for them before you can be taken seriously.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 6, 2014 11:48:02 AM

S.C., you write "There is a lively death penalty." Nice juxtaposition. I'll save you a seat at the next execution. By the way, I found the knitting needles. Be sure to bring yours.

Posted by: Madame DeFarge | Mar 6, 2014 12:12:40 PM

"How do the conservative arguments differ from the liberal ones?"

There is surely some overlap like there would be on any issue such as the "conservative" argument for free speech or something. The conservative argument can be more religiously based, it might bring in abortion, it can be less suspicious of things like racism or retribution (the anti-government power in general argument is more libertarian), it can be more focused on cost etc.

"executing babies"

"Shielding murderers" here means "giving them long prison sentences, perhaps life in prison but not executing them." Most murderers are not executed. Why? Because the law and juries time and time again do not think it is appropriate. Not only "liberals." The remainder is a choice between long prison sentences or execution. This is the "shielding" going on.

The general public -- something like 80% -- also think abortion is appropriate in various cases and/or should not be illegal. They think, e.g., the 99% of abortions that occur before viability or 80% in the first trimester is acceptable for various reasons. They don't think "babies" can be killed even if they were born as a result of a rape. However, liberals and conservatives think it is okay to have an abortion if the pregnancy is a result of rape. The law also doesn't treat a month old embryo like a "baby" in lots of ways. Again, like above, "liberals" are being targeted for something that society as a whole does.

"Execution" also is something the state does. The term you want to use (misuse) is "murder," I think.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 6, 2014 1:40:14 PM

Joe. Year after year for the past 50 years, makes the murders foreseeable. There will be over 10,000 a year. Instead of the expected 10% of murder victims being black, there will be 40% or more.

That repetitiveness makes them "foreseeable," and imparts a "duty" on the government. It is failing to carry out its duty to prevent them by coddling murderers. So the government is partially responsible for these executions, many of them cruel. The repetitive over-representation of blacks make the policy overtly racist, in its devaluation of the lives of black victims, and the resulting disparate impact, serving no legitimate government interest. They coddle the black murderer to keep their government make work jobs, without disclosing this economic interest, making the argument one in bad faith.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 6, 2014 1:53:02 PM

When it is time to go to the Pearly Gates for the interview that lands you in Hell, Heaven or Limbo, you must have some arguments ready as to why you opposed the killing of humans by The People of The Great State of Texas from whence you came. There is this thing called the Sixth Commandment and when it was etched in stone it says Thou Shalt Not Kill. There is some Sears Roebuck version of a bible floating around out there that substitutes some words like Murder for Kill but if you want to go with the Commandment written in stone you will fair better at the Pearly Gates. Of course, many folks don't believe in God, Heaven, Hell, or even Limbo. And if you don't then go about your business while your government kills humans in your name.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Mar 6, 2014 10:13:45 PM

Lib: here is a review. The Bible was written by Iraqi or Palestinian peasants, real a-holes who were animals. The idea of not killing in that era would have been impossible.

Retzach lo = Murder not.


Wiping out the enemy to the last kitten was often an instruction from Yahweh, itself.

Your religion based argument would not be permitted in any legal setting in this secular nation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 7, 2014 3:56:41 AM

The conservatives and liberals both understand that in their misplaced zeal to convict, prosecutors can convict the innocent. See Texas case of Michael Morton. But more recently see
case of Edward Lee Elmore. The following is from a recent CNN report:

"By the time Edward Lee Elmore won his freedom at age 53, he had spent 30 years -- most of them on death row -- imprisoned in South Carolina for a crime he says he did not commit. Law enforcement planted evidence and prosecutors manipulated facts to cast Elmore as the only suspect in the 1982 murder of 75-year-old Dorothy Edwards, his lawyers claim. Even with seemingly overwhelming evidence in Elmore's favor, it took nearly two decades to win his release, in what an appeals court called "one of those exceptional cases of 'extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems.' "

Posted by: Mary from Vermont | Mar 7, 2014 5:59:10 PM

I would not propose my Sixth Commandment argument to be employed in a Court. No, I pose it for those who kill other humans to consider their conduct and its consequences. If you do not believe in God, and that you will not go to Hell for violating the Sixth Commandment, then fear not.
But for folks who go to church on Sunday and preach a conservative agenda on things like the death penalty I simply ask them to question the core beliefs. There is probably not one conservative politician in this nation who does not profess to be a believer. It is the lib tards who ought to be the one's thumbing their noses at the Thou Shalt Not Kill Commandment. Because if you are a lib tard then you don't believe in God--right?
On these blogs we have all sorts of stones cast at people for being "liberal". Liberty made one's first priority does not make one a Liberal. It is in fact conservative to espouse the premises of the Constitution. I want to preserve what the Framers set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and also what the Framers of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments originally intended. I am a Scalia Originalist except, I go to the intent of the Framers of those post Civil War Amendments as well. Now, as to Prohibition, pro or con, I can give a rats arse.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Mar 7, 2014 10:35:33 PM

Liberty1st --

Isn't this blog supposed to be about secular law?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 8, 2014 12:44:36 AM

Yes. Secular law. Which is why I would not argue the Sixth Commandment in a court. But for a guy like that fat guy in Jersey to say that he is Pro Life and then say that he wants the Death Penalty re imposed in New Jersey, well, he has a contradiction.
I am not for abortion either. I am pro life. I am for fair trials. If you do want to kill humans then do the killing like a man. Stand them up and shoot them. Don't tie them to a gurney and stick needles in the arm and inject poison. That seems un American to me. Make the Governor serve on the firing squad.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Mar 8, 2014 1:02:54 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB