FEATURED POST

America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Dutch, Belgian, German, Austrian governments work to prevent Turkish death penalty vote in Europe

BERLIN — The Dutch government says it will look into ways of preventing people from voting in the Netherlands in a possible Turkish referendum on reintroducing the death penalty.

Dirk-Jan Vermeij, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders, says the Dutch Cabinet “does not want this and will not facilitate it.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken of reinstating capital punishment — a move that would effectively end Ankara’s faltering bid to join the European Union — since he narrowly won expanded powers last month.

Vermeij said Friday that “reintroducing the death penalty would be a break with European values and is not compatible with membership of the European Union and Council of Europe.”

The Dutch statement followed a similar statement by Germany earlier in the day.

The German government says it wouldn’t allow voting in Germany if Turkey holds a referendum on whether to reintroduce the death penalty.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken of the move — which would effectively finish off Ankara’s faltering bid to join the European Union — since narrowly winning expanded powers last month. 

Germany and other European countries vehemently oppose executions.

The German government says that its permission is required for voting in foreign elections or referendums to take place at embassies, consulates or elsewhere on its territory. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Friday: “it is politically inconceivable that we would agree to such a vote in Germany on a measure that clearly contradicts our constitution and European values.”

Belgium’s prime minister says the time has come for the European Union to make a final decision about Turkey’s bid for membership, which he called a “dead end.”

Prime Minister Charles Michel says in an interview with The Associated Press that after months of provocations from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “masochism must have its limits.”

Michel says he has the impression that the membership process is not the right framework to have a successful dialogue with Turkey.

Austria is also seeking to end Turkey’s membership bid, and a growing group of countries say they’ve realized acting as if Turkey is still a constructive partner would amount to a charade.

Erdogan recently won a referendum that expands his powers, and he has had equally harsh words for the EU. He has also said he may hold a referendum on whether the country should continue its membership efforts.

Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press, May 5, 2017

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