Symposium: A major setback for the antidemocratic war of attrition against the death penalty

“[I]s it appropriate for the judiciary to countenance what amounts to a guerilla war against the death penalty …?” Justice Samuel Alito asked at oral argument two months ago in Glossip v. Gross. Yesterday we got the answer. No, it is not.
From great debate to war of attrition
The moral and policy debates on capital punishment are older than the Republic, but until the 1960s the debate was not a constitutional one. In 1958 Chief Justice Earl Warren unequivocally rejected the notion that the death penalty was unconstitutional. The subsequent constitutional debate came to a climax in 1976, when the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the death penalty was unconstitutional but began the process of reading a host of limitations and procedural requirements into the Eighth Amendment.
In the court of public opinion, the opponents lost the argument.

Original SCOTUS article

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