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Criminal Law

2016

Duke Law

Due process of law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher Jan 2016

The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

Can the Supreme Court find unconstitutional something that the text of the Constitution “contemplates”? If the Bill of Rights mentions a punishment, does that make it a “permissible legislative choice” immune to independent constitutional challenges?

Recent developments have given new hope to those seeking constitutional abolition of the death penalty. But some supporters of the death penalty continue to argue, as they have since Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty must be constitutional because the Fifth Amendment explicitly contemplates it. The appeal of this argument is obvious, but its strength is largely superficial, and is also mostly irrelevant …