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More Questions For Rod



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You say that the death penalty is not in principle immoral, but is so prone to error–to sending the innocent to be executed–that it should be abolished. My question is: Would any level of error be so low that you would think it worth keeping? If your answer is no, then you should quit wasting your time and ours trying to show that today’s death penalty is terribly flawed, racially biased, etc.; you’re against any death penalty that would be administered by humans. If the death penalty is supportable even with some possibility of error, on the other hand, different questions arise. Such as: What is that level of error, and are we really above it? Nobody has ever shown that the death penalty has claimed an innocent life in America in the last century. Why not support reforms to reduce the error rate, rather than abolish the penalty? Also: Assuming that the death penalty should be abolished, isn’t it an abuse of the pardon power to effect that policy by executive fiat? You said that Gov. Ryan “did the right thing.” It’s hard to see how that could be true on any conventional understanding of the separation of powers.



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