The Corner

The Death Penalty & The Constitution

A bunch of readers want to know why I think the Constitution says the death penalty is, er, constitutional. Again, I defer to the eggheads if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the constitution refers to “capital” crimes — i.e. those punishable by death — and says in both the fifth and fourteenth amendments something or other about how you can’t deprive people of life, liberty etc without due process. Well, life-deprivation sounds an awful lot like death-provision to me. But, maybe I fail to see the nuance here. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Anyway, it would strike me as pretty odd if the founders put all that language in there if they thought the death penalty might be unconstitutional.  

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Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More