Friday, January 16, 2015

Justice Sotomayor on the Oklahoma Lethal Injection Protocol

Last night, the State of Oklahoma put a child killer to death by a questionable lethal injection protocol. I understand not mourning the loss.

Admittedly, as I've gotten older,  I have become anti-death penalty generally, but my policy preference does not trump the constitutionality of the practice. Clearly, some form of capital punishment is constitutional. However, that does not mean that all forms of capital punishment are permissible.

As a nation that is to be governed by laws, and until we ban capital punishment entirely, how the state carries out these increasingly problematic executions must be examined for constitutionality--specifically the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Justice Sotomayor, joined by the three Democrat-appointed justices, makes a strong and well-reasoned constitutional argument why last night's execution should not have happened.

You can read it here, courtesy of the Marshall Project.

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