The Constitutionality of the Death Penalty

In: Social Issues

Submitted By janetcita09
Words 2526
Pages 11

The Supreme Court of the United States has the authority to decide whether state statutes conflict with the provisions of the Constitution and the Court’s prior interpretations of those provisions. This power of judicial review has given the Supreme Court the crucial responsibility to assure individual rights, as well as to maintain a “living Constitution” whose broad provisions are continually reviewed and applied to complicated new situations. Since Justices are appointed for life, when the Supreme Court rules on an issue involving the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, that judgment is final unless altered by a constitutional amendment or the Court’s subsequent ruling (Booklet). The Court decides whether specific state statutes are applied rightly or whether a person’s Constitutional rights have been violated. The Constitutionality of the death penalty in the United States has been decided by the Justices of the Supreme Court based on cases appealed from different states. The people who founded the United States came from England and European countries where there had always been a death penalty. This does not mean there are no reasons for states to abolish the death penalty; just that it is currently legal for the states to have this punishment.
The present controversy started when the Supreme Court decided in Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), that imposition and carrying out of the death penalty in the cases before it constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated Mr. Furman’s rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. There was no argument that Mr. Furman committed a violent murder. The problem was that the Georgia statute used to sentence him to death was badly written. An extremely severe punishment was being imposed in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The Georgia…...

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