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Let’s look at the death penalty again

I have been bothered by the death of Troy Davis. What the hell? There was an opportunity for those who love life… I keep thinking about this case. Why did this guy “have to” die? Where was the governor of Georgia? Could Mr. Davis been pardoned? Where was the president? No one could have saved this man?

From NYT Editorial:

As the unconscionable execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last week underscores, the court has failed because it is impossible to succeed at this task. The death penalty is grotesque and immoral and should be repealed.

The court’s 1976 framework for administering the death penalty, balancing aggravating factors like the cruelty of the crime against mitigating ones like the defendant’s lack of a prior criminal record, came from the American Law Institute, the nonpartisan group of judges, lawyers and law professors. In 2009, after a review of decades of executions, the group concluded that the system could not be fixed and abandoned trying.

Sentencing people to death without taking account of aggravating and mitigating circumstances leads to arbitrary results. Yet, the review found, so does considering such circumstances because it requires jurors to weigh competing factors and makes sentencing vulnerable to their biases.

Those biases are driven by race, class and politics, which influence all aspects of American life. As a result, they have made discrimination and arbitrariness the hallmarks of the death penalty in this country.

For example, two-thirds of all those sentenced to death since 1976 have been in five Southern states where “vigilante values” persist, according to the legal scholar Franklin Zimring. Racism continues to infect the system, as study after study has found in the past three decades.

By |2011-09-29T12:07:26-04:00September 29th, 2011|Legal|Comments Off on Let’s look at the death penalty again

No one will argue against the constitutionality of healthcare reform

There is a difference between a political stunt and a legitimate constitutional question. The media doesn’t seem to know the difference.

From Think Progress:

Yesterday, the University of Washington held a debate about the constitutionality of the recently passed health care reform bill. The Seattle Times reports that none of the panelists at the debate argued that the bill was unconstitutional because the organizers of the event couldn’t find any law professors who held that view:

The University of Washington billed it as a debate among distinguished law faculty over whether the new federal health-care law is constitutional.

But while the four panelists at a packed event Tuesday may have differed on some of the finer points, they all agreed on the big question: They said the new law passes constitutional muster and that various lawsuits arguing the opposite — including the one joined last week by state Attorney General Rob McKenna — have little merit or chance of success.Even John McKay, the former Republican U.S. attorney for Western Washington (who was forced out in 2006 under contentious circumstances) said that while he sympathized with some of the political issues in play, he thought the lawsuits lacked merit. In fact, he questioned the timing and thrust of the cases: “One way to say it is, that this has to be seen as a political exercise,” he said.

Moderator Hugh Spitzer noted the lack of a vigorous dissenting voice. “I will say that we tried very hard to get a professor who could come and who thinks this is flat-out unconstitutional,” he said. “But there are relatively few of them, and they are in great demand.”

By |2010-03-31T11:38:19-04:00March 31st, 2010|Healthcare, Legal, Party Politics|Comments Off on No one will argue against the constitutionality of healthcare reform
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