Thursday, October 6, 2016

Speaking Of Which

FLG posted a quote from Megan McArdle's post about support for the death penalty.

One argument FLG NEVER understands is the one that the death penalty, in and of itself, is unconstitutional.

Fifth Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

One doesn't need to be Aristotle to understand that those phrases very clearly imply that with the due process of law, one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property.   

That's not to say that a particular method of execution could be cruel and unusual.  Or there are issues with the process by which defendants are tried and sentenced to the death penalty that are serious and broad enough to rule the death penalty de facto unconstitutional.   But it's pretty clear that the constitution allows for depriving a person of their life with due process of law.

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