Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A depiction of the Invisible Pink UnicornI voted to uphold the death penalty. And I thought, at the time, that if the universe of defendants eligible for the death penalty is sufficiently narrow, so that you can be confident that the defendant really merits that severe punishment, that the death penalty was appropriate. But what happened over the years is the court constantly expanded the cases eligible for the death penalty, so that the underlying premise for my vote in those cases has disappeared, in a sense.

-- Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, reflecting on the court's decision in 1976 to uphold the death penalty, which he now describes as "incorrect" and the "one vote I would change." NPR interview, 4 October 2010

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