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Death Penalty Moratorium

[ 28 ] October 31, 2007 |

It’s all but official: the Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for a prisoner in Mississippi, “and thus gave a nearly indisputable indication that a majority intends to block all executions until the court decides a lethal injection case from Kentucky next spring.” Scalia and the man who put the doctrinaire conservative in “moderation” Sam Alito — but not Thomas or Roberts — dissented.

It seems almost certain, however, that this stay will be temporary and executions will resume after the case comes down next year. Although the possibility that we’re torturing people to death strikes me as more substantial Eighth Amendment grounds than the recent limitations on the death penalty found by the Supreme Court, preventing the execution of adolescents and the mentally handicapped represents a relatively small number of cases, lethal injection involves virtually every execution in the country. I can’t imagine Kennedy voting to require stringent standards of evidence from the states in this instance.

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Comments (28)

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  1. Pinko Punko says:

    Scalia, a piece of work. And over to Althouse for some Alito blogging? Nah, she probably doesn’t even remember him, like they only met at a speed dating night and she crossed path with him 7 or 8 drinks in.

  2. ewan says:

    Although the possibility that we’re torturing people to death…
    This is ridiculous, and most people know it. The lethal injection method of execution was intstituted to be the most pain-free and humane way of executing prisoners.
    The arguement put forth by the left is disingenuous. They argue pain and suffering, but the real goal is the death penalty, itself. It’s all bullshit. why can’t they (for once) be honest?
    Let’s see what method Salon.com or democraticunderground would suggest replace lethal injection and what would be satisfactory.
    (crickets chiping…..)

  3. Jude says:

    Whoa, whoa–
    Even Thomas is on board with this?
    I’m genuinely shocked.

  4. Seitz says:

    why can’t they (for once) be honest?
    OK, I’ll be honest. The death penalty is unnecessary, and is nothing but revenge. It’s vile, arbitrary, and plays to the worst instincts in people, or the normal instincts in Republicans. It has no place in civilized society. Those are the best reasons to get rid of it. Another good reason is that you only get one chance to screw it up. Dead people can’t get released from prison when they’re exonerated.
    But if it takes a bullshit “pain and suffering” argument to put it a stop to it, that’s fine with me.
    They argue pain and suffering, but the real goal is the death penalty, itself. It’s all bullshit.
    Hilarious that this comes from the side which screams “Abortion is teh murder!!!” and does everything it can to put up every possible barrier to legal abortion to the point where it’s simply unavailable to large numbers of women, but which is to afraid to put up a bill that will send women who terminate their pregnancies to jail. Talk about an end run around the law. What a fucking hypocrite.

  5. Nathan Williams says:

    Well, let’s see. The inventor of the lethal injection protocol thinks it needs to be re-examined and revised. The use of a muscle relaxant is prohibited to kill animals in many places.

  6. Roxanne says:

    I can feel the Catholism all the way down at this end of downtown D.C.

  7. This is ridiculous, and most people know it. The lethal injection method of execution was intstituted to be the most pain-free and humane way of executing prisoners.
    Yes, the fact that it was intended to be humane must mean that it is humane, no matter what the evidence or how it’s administered! A truly brilliant argument.

  8. ewan says:

    But if it takes a bullshit “pain and suffering” argument to put it a stop to it, that’s fine with me.
    Thanks for your response. It was a very honest one.
    However, when you must cloak your agenda, it’s a problem. It demostrates that you don’t believe that you can achieve your goals by being upfront about what you want. That begs the question as to why and I believe the most likely answer is that the agenda is one of a marginal group and doesn’t reflect the mainstream thought in this country.
    This technique used is not limited to the death penalty. Illegal amnesty, gun bans, etc. I’m not saying that the Conservatives have not engaged in this. What I’m saying is I believe the Conservatives are more upfront and honest about what they want. They tell you upfront that they would ban abortion, if they get the chance. They tell you upfront that they don’t want illegal amnesty. And in the GOP presidential race, they are falling all over themselves to demonstrate who’s the most conservative.
    By contrast, the liberals won’t be honest and say that they are for amnesty for illegals and they won’t be honest about wanting to ban guns (it’s never mentioned). The only honest position that I have seen is abortions for everybody, even minors, and I’m thankful for that bit of honesty.
    AND I have yet to see those in the Democratic party who are runnning for president try to “out-liberal” the other. They run from their beliefs in fear of the voters.

  9. ewan says:

    Yes, the fact that it was intended to be humane must mean that it is humane…
    Before anyone can seriously discuss this issues it is important to know if this argument is put forth honestly. The question is are you seriously interested in the pain, or are you simply using this to cover your agenda of abolishing the death penalty?
    If you are, indeed, using this as cover, it’s a waste of time. If your are genuine, what method do you believe would be more humane than injecting drugs?

  10. Seitz says:

    What I’m saying is I believe the Conservatives are more upfront and honest about what they want.
    Distinction without a difference. If you can’t get in the through the front door, and you use the back door instead, you aren’t any more virtuous if you say “hey everyone, we’re going through the backdoor!”.
    And in the GOP presidential race, they are falling all over themselves to demonstrate who’s the most conservative.
    Because they’re trying to appeal to the nutjob 25 percenters, who can get them the nomination. If you think they’ll keep it up leading into the general election, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  11. Whether or not there’s a “hidden agenda” — and of course many death penalty litigators are open abolitionists — is completely beside the point. If we flogged people to death it would violate the 8th Amendment; why people brought the cases would be beside the point. You’re focused on motivations and intentions although they are completely irrelevant to anything. Lethal injection as administered is sometimes torture, or it’s not. If it is, it violates the 8th Amendment. It’s neither surprising nor the slightest bit relevant that some of the people brining the cases oppose the death penalty, but so what?
    In addition, the idea that Republicans are straightforward about the implications of their forced pregnancy position is farcical. Try to get a straight answer out of a major GOP candidate about what the punishments in an abortion statute would look like.

  12. witless chum says:

    The idea that Ewan’s question is some kind of gotcha is absurd. I’d prefer we had no death penalty, or at most saved if for the Bin Ladens of the world. But given that we have a death penalty, I can’t be in favor of it being done humanely?
    Suppose someone thinks we shouldn’t have an income tax, are they horrible, sneaky people if they complain about the way the IRS does things? I think not.
    No reason people who disagree about having a death penalty can’t agree on changing our lethal injection regime to a less painful combo of drugs.

  13. john b says:

    I’m anti-execution. But if you’re going to have the death penalty, the best approach is the guillotine.
    Not only is it rapid and painless – at the same time, it doesn’t a perversion of the medical process to hide the fact that what you’re doing is killing a person…

  14. john b says:

    “it doesn’t *involve* a perversion of the medical process”, even.

  15. Anderson says:

    Not only is it rapid and painless
    According to moment-after interviews with *how* many severed heads?

  16. ewan says:

    …you aren’t any more virtuous if you say “hey everyone, we’re going through the backdoor!”.
    Yes, you are. It’s called full disclosure and honesty.
    …You’re focused on motivations and intentions…
    Yes, I am. Your mouth can say anything, but the truth lies in your motivations and intentions.
    According to moment-after interviews with *how* many severed heads?
    A very good question for those who are executed by lethal injection as well. Hundreds of years go by and no one complains about hanging, firing squad, electricution, poison gas, etc. Now, all-of-a-sudden, the bar is moved and drugs are now somehow torture.
    Is there any mystery why people marvel at the twisting of definitions to achieve what can’t be gotten at the ballot box??
    Oh, and by the way, Mississippi also uses gas. The statute is unclear who decides which to use.

  17. aimai says:

    Ewan is really bucking for chief troll this week, isn’t he? Did we draw the short straw in trolldom without knowing it? And why hasn’t he used the “I ustabee a democrat before I realized they would physically restrain me from torturing the man who raped my kitten” line? I’ve been waiting. I don’t think he’s using the approved conserva troll manual. Is that legal?
    aimai

  18. Walt says:

    Can we get rid of this “ewan”? He’s ruined half the threads this week.

  19. ewan says:

    Ewan is really bucking for chief troll this week, isn’t he?
    Shorter aimai:”Ewan has raised serios questions that I can’t answer about lethal injection and the ever-moving and fluid standard of ‘torture’….we don’t need anymore dissent….we don’t want or like dissent….unless we are the ones dissenting”

  20. aimai says:

    shorter ewan
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    aimai

  21. Pinko Punko says:

    Shorter Pinko:
    “I have already awarded my weekly Super Genius Award to some dipshit claiming waterboarding isn’t torture, but I will allow a spot on the ticket for ewan, whose breathtaking displays of junior high debate club logic are inept as they are disingenuous. I will also allow ewan to use the form 1027 “ad hominem” retort, as this does nothing to alter his deep cobaggery.”
    I have concerns that the there are a large number of questions about the death penalty. One concern would be its racist nature, and the troubling possibility that a large number of innocent people are on death row. I also have ethical and moral questions about the taking of life under govt. auspices. I additionally have questions concerning whether there is any crime prevention utility of the death penalty. Finally, I am also concerned that the death penalty may essentially illegal under the “cruel and unusual” language of the Constitution. I will openly advance my death penalty moratorium agenda under any and all of these issues, until they can all be sorted out. Why is that so hard, ewan?

  22. John says:

    Guillotine! Guillotine! Guillotine!

  23. Steverino says:

    The issue in question, which apparently has to be spelled out, is not that lethal injection of drugs is inhumane of itself, but that the particular drugs used, and the sequence in which they are used, could produce agonizing pain prior to death. If there has to be a death penalty at all, then yes, lethal injection may be the least painful way to go about it, if the proper procedure were developed. How about an overdose of some anaesthetic, or (as I read in a novel) an overdose of heroin?
    Personally I oppose any death penalty at all, while at the same time recognizing there are some people the world would be better off without. I am willing to support them, however, rather than have an innocent on my conscience.

  24. Cyrus says:

    Ewan made a very interesting argument upthread:
    A very good question for those who are executed by lethal injection as well. Hundreds of years go by and no one complains about hanging, firing squad, electricution, poison gas, etc. Now, all-of-a-sudden, the bar is moved and drugs are now somehow torture.
    Is there any mystery why people marvel at the twisting of definitions to achieve what can’t be gotten at the ballot box??

    I call it interesting not because I find it compelling, but because I find it familiar.
    The Texas law stood for more than a century and no court thought that it violated anything. Now, they look into the same document, slap their forhead, and say “Wow! This violates the constitution! How did we miss that!?”
    The liberals have had some success using the courts instead of the legislature. Is there any wonder why now the conservatives are also believe the courts, and who is placed on their benches, is important?

    What a curious coincidence.
    (Yeah, maybe it is kind of weird that I was able to find that, but I have a weird memory for things like this, and Ezra’s “search” button worked unusually well.)

  25. Cyrus says:

    Ewan made a very interesting argument upthread.
    A very good question for those who are executed by lethal injection as well. Hundreds of years go by and no one complains about hanging, firing squad, electricution, poison gas, etc. Now, all-of-a-sudden, the bar is moved and drugs are now somehow torture.
    Is there any mystery why people marvel at the twisting of definitions to achieve what can’t be gotten at the ballot box??

    I call it interesting not because it’s convincing or eloquent, but because it’s familiar.
    The Texas law stood for more than a century and no court thought that it violated anything. Now, they look into the same document, slap their forhead, and say “Wow! This violates the constitution! How did we miss that!?”
    The liberals have had some success using the courts instead of the legislature. Is there any wonder why now the conservatives are also believe the courts, and who is placed on their benches, is important?

    What a curious coincidence.

  26. Cyrus says:

    Whoops. Sorry about the double post. I got an error message at first. If one of the bloggers wants, they can delete one of those.

  27. Hogan says:

    Yes, I am. Your mouth can say anything, but the truth lies in your motivations and intentions.
    And you claim that you can detect the motivations and intentions of people you’ve never met, at long distance.
    Which is, shall we say, not the truth.

  28. ewan says:

    And you claim that you can detect the motivations and intentions of people..
    No, I simply ask, as I did Seitz and they confess their dishonesty.
    But if it takes a bullshit “pain and suffering” argument to put it a stop to it, that’s fine with me.
    —Seitz | Homepage | 10.31.07 – 10:29 am |
    *Or* they continue to lie…..like you.

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