Ten Chairs: Nine are Leather; One’s Electric. The Supreme Court’s Struggle for Equal Justice in Capital Punishment.
AbstractAmerica continues to struggle with the death penalty issue, with some calling it “cruel and unusual” punishment, and others asserting that it represents a sure-fire path to justice. In the context of the theme “Equal Justice Under Law,” etched in stone on the U.S. Supreme Court Building, this paper considers whether the Supreme Court’s increased emphasis on procedural efficiency in denying writs of certiorari and stays of execution denies equal justice based on the merits of a prisoner’s case. While noting some benefits of procedural efficiency, the paper concludes that tightening the procedural process does come at the expense of substantive justice, thus making the goal of “equal justice” more illusive.
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