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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2008 / 25 Nissan 5768

Sanitizing the death penalty

By Nat Hentoff


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On April 17, the U.S. Supreme Court — by a walloping 7-to-2 majority in Baze v. Reese — declared constitutional Kentucky's method of death penalty by lethal injection — a combination of three toxic chemicals used as a method of execution in 35 states. As Justice John Paul Stevens noted disquietedly, one of the three terminating chemicals paralyzes the unsedated prisoner, who is conscious but unable to move, breathe or utter his last cry. Delivering the main opinion of our highest court, Chief Justice John Roberts — with language as bland as if he were ruling on an intellectual property case — wrote:


"Simply because an execution method may result in pain, whether by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of objectively intolerable risk of harm that qualifies as cruel and unusual (under the Eighth Amendment). ... Some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution — no matter how humane."


Agreeing with Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, was more bluntly concise. "This is an easy case," he said, because the only method of execution that would violate the Eighth Amendment, barring cruel and unusual punishment, would be a method "deliberately designed to inflict pain."


Considering the inmate is paralyzed yet conscious, doesn't this deliberate infliction of horror in the final moments of an American's life violate the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and usual punishment," by design?


No, say Roberts, Thomas and Scalia.


Also disagreeing is the rest of the Supreme Court majority, including Stevens himself, who went along with the majority because he felt bound by the Court's previous precedents.


But after 33 years on the Court, Stevens did, however, scandalize Thomas and Scalia by calling for the actual abolition of the death penalty! "I have relied," he said, "on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty represents the pointless and needless extinction of life with only marginal contributions to any discernible or social public purpose. (Such a penalty) is patently excessive and cruel and unusual punishment violative of the Eighth Amendment."


His colleague, Scalia, exploded: "What prompted Justice Stevens to repudiate his prior view and to adopt the astounding position that a criminal sanction, the death penalty, expressly mentioned in the Constitution, violates the Constitution?"


Has Scalia — an "originalist" to whom the Constitution's language, as written, is strictly determinative — forgotten that our founding document does not include Negro slaves as "free Persons" with constitutional protections? That no longer being the case, the Constitution is not entirely frozen in time.


That the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court continues — by contrast with most civilized nations — to justify the death penalty brings me inexorably to Justice Harry Blackmun's dissenting opinion in Callins v. Collins (Feb. 22, 1994).


I hope that if this April's Baze v. Reese decision is discussed in any of our secondary schools or colleges and universities, attention is paid to Blackmun's awakening after long service on the Court to his responsibilities under the Eighth Amendment in this century:


"I shall no longer tinker with the machinery of death. For more than twenty years I have endeavored — indeed, I have struggled — to develop procedural and substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty... (I recognize) the problem is that:


"The inevitability of factual, legal and moral error gives us a system that we know must wrongly kill some defendants, a system that fails to deliver the fair, consistent, and reliable sentences of death required by the Constitution," Blackmun concluded.


And, as you have witnessed the Roberts Court tinkering with whether the three toxic chemicals used by state executioners around the country are well within the Constitution, keep in mind that in the 1994 words of Blackmun, the Supreme Court still continues to "substitute constitutional requirements" concerning the death penalty "with mere aesthetics."


That's the Roberts Court in Baze v. Reese: deciding the chemical aesthetics of killing human beings!


The late Justice William Brennan used to tell me: "I can't believe that the leader of the free world is going to keep on executing people. I still believe that eventually we become more civilized. It would be horrible if we didn't."


On Oklahoma State Penitentiary's death row, convicted killer Paris Powell said the day after the decision on Baze v. Reese (Newsday): "It's just official that the death penalty is here to stay forever, really."


That could depend on how the next president fills vacancies on the Supreme Court. Does John McCain still regard Scalia as his model for a Supreme Court Justice? Does he know that Chief Justice John Marshall declared "a Constitution ... is intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs"?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

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