The death penalty is not nearing its end, redux

The NYT has another editorial on the collapse of the death penalty. Although the editors note that California, Oklahoma, and Nebraska voted to retain the death penalty, they contend that the overall trend is “toward growing discomfort with state-sanctioned killing.” This is true to a certain extent, insofar as a majority of American disapprove of the punishment. However, as is the case in presidential elections (and just as lamentably), majorities do not decide much of anything. Since capital punishment is quite popular in the few jurisdictions in which it is practiced, abolition will be a nationwide phenomenon only when SCOTUS says so. And since Breyer is the only justice to call the constitutionality of execution into question, that day is likely a long way off.

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