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August 9, 2018

The Modern Eighth Amendment

The title of this post was the name for one of yesterday's panels at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools ("SEALS") Conference. Organized by Will Berry (Ole Miss) and Meghan Ryan (SMU), the panel addressed the history of the Eighth Amendment, Eighth Amendment doctrine and its future. Panelists (myself included) covered everything from the original meaning of "cruel and unusual" to the Court's problematic use of the "evolving standards of decency" doctrine and the future of the death penalty and JLWOP.

There really was something for everyone (well, everyone interested in Eighth Amendment issues)!

Corinna Lain (Richmond) provides a full summary here.

August 9, 2018 at 06:12 PM | Permalink


Probably the SC Justices could do with the refresher

Posted by: peter | Aug 10, 2018 5:51:43 AM

What might originalism have to say about mass incarceration and/or very lengthy incarceration?

Posted by: John | Aug 10, 2018 12:24:01 PM


As I like to point out one of the major reasons there was no mass incarceration at the founding was because they hung people instead. They preferred mass graves to mass prisons.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 10, 2018 1:18:59 PM

Agreed that there were more capital crimes at the founding. Maybe that's more evidence for why we shouldn't stake the whole constitutional enterprise on what those slaveholders were thinking.

Posted by: John | Aug 10, 2018 3:57:39 PM

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