Archive for the 'law' Category

Killing people with the proper perspective

Since capital punishment was resumed in 1976, 1,174 convicted criminals have been executed by state governments in the US.  About three times as many, or another 3,297, were waiting on Death Row to be executed as of the beginning of 2009. With each capital case, the governor has the opportunity to review the case and either execute the prisoner or granting clemency or a pardon and spare the prisoner’s life. Must be a tough decision. One thousand, one hundred seventy-four times in the past 30 odd years, a governor has had the opportunity to spare life but instead decided to go ahead with the execution. And being a governor is only going to get harder, with many more life and death decisions coming to her or his desk in the coming decades.

Setting aside the question of capital punishment itself, we can all agree that the clemency/pardon review should be a gut-wrenching process for a governor, and one that any executive should approach with the proper perspective. No one wants to deal with life and death cavalierly. But looking at history, how seriously do governors actually take their duties when it comes to executing convicted felons?

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Justice or Law: What do you want from your leaders?

The New York Times recently published a series of questions for Judge Sotomayor as her confirmation hearings begin. The questions are insightful, and in a perfect would definitely would be posed to the potential justice. Of course, her actual confirmation hearing is likely to follow the pattern of the post-Bork era: uninformed, leading, or just dim-witted questions will be followed by evasive, vacuous, or disingenuous answers.

But let’s take one of the questions seriously for a second: “Given your public remarks about the importance of judges showing compassion, do you believe there is a difference between doing justice and applying the law?” Good question.

Continue reading ‘Justice or Law: What do you want from your leaders?’

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This is a group blog. JSC5 currently writes from the US. JSC7 writes from behind the Great Firewall of China.

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