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Reply #187: Whether the DP is morally wrong or not is not the issue [View All]

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wpelb Donating Member (292 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 12:00 AM
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187. Whether the DP is morally wrong or not is not the issue
The question is whether the Constitution specifically forbids its use in this case. The Eighth Amendment forbids "cruel and unusual punishments," but doesn't specify or define what "cruel and unusual punishments" are. It doesn't even address the semantic argument of whether a type of punishment that is cruel but not unusual is permitted. The Supreme Court has held that the death penalty is not "cruel and unusual" punishment (otherwise nobody would be getting executed).

The Fourteenth Amendment adds more fuel to the fire. It keeps states from abridging "the privileges or immunities of citizens" (doesn't say anything about non-citizens, by the way). It also forbids a state to "deprive any person of life . . . without due process of law," which presumably means that a state could take someone's life if it followed due process.

Whether the death penalty is a proper means of punishment of rapists, kidnappers, murderers, or anyone else is not addressed by the Constitution. That should be addressed and debated in Congress and the respective state legislatures. That will mean that different jurisdictions will have different punishments for the same crimes, but that is the price we pay for living in a federal state.
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