Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update: Death Penalty Standards Are Not "Evolving"

On March 19, Nima discussed New Mexico's repeal of the death penalty. The repeal, as he intimated, could "open up new avenues to the Supreme Court for death row inmates to argue against the constitutionality of the death penalty. . . .[because] other states follow New Mexico's lead in banning capital punishment altogether[.]" Given the majoritarian "evolving standards" jurisprudence, see Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 101 (1958), I thought Nima's suggestion was well-taken.

But it doesn't seem like any type of national consensus against the death penalty is really emerging. As LawDork reports, "Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray is going in the other direction." According to Cordray, "it's a bogus argument to say the death penalty should be eliminated because cases take too long and cost too much."

That's pretty powerful language. Granted, as LawDork notes, the Attorney General's role is to defend the law of the state--regardless of what his or her views are. But I nevertheless think this reaction is interesting in light of the previous discussion, as it highlights the fact that our country may not be ready to reverse it's death penalty course . . . yet.


  1. While it may be a "bogus argument" to eliminate the death penalty because of cost judicially, I think its a very good argument for doing it legislatively.

    Maybe not on its own, but very much so once coupled with other arguments against capital pubishment.

  2. It is quite unlikely that this would make much of a difference in any event


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