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Death Penalty
"Whoever has committed Murder, must die."
Immanuel Kant

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Death Penalty

Justice Scalia Dissent
June 15, 1992
Seal Of The Supreme Court

Sixteen years ago, this Court decreed — by a sheer act of will, with no pretense of foundation in constitutional text or American tradition — that the People (as in We, the People) cannot decree the death penalty, absolutely and categorically, for any criminal act, even (presumably) genocide; the jury must always be given the option of extending mercy. Today, obscured within the fog of confusion that is our annually improvised Eighth Amendment, "death is different" jurisprudence, the Court strikes a further blow against the People in its campaign against the death penalty. Not only must mercy be allowed, but now only the merciful may be permitted to sit in judgment. Those who agree with the author of Exodus, or with Immanuel Kant, (6) must be banished from American juries — not because the People have so decreed, but because such jurors do not share the strong penological preferences of this Court. In my view that not only is not required by the Constitution of the United States; it grossly offends it.

Footnote 6: See Exodus 21:12 "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death"; I. Kant, THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAW [1796] "[W]hoever has committed Murder, must die... Even if a Civil Society resolved to dissolve itself with the consent of all its members... the last Murderer lying in the prison ought to be executed before the resolution was carried out. This ought to be done in order that every one may realize the desert of his deeds."