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

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…

Switzerland also says “No” to Turkey's death penalty referendum

Following Germany and Belgium, Swiss deputies also declared that a possible death penalty referendum by the Turkish government can’t be allowed to take place on Swiss soil.

Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter spoke with caution on the issue of the death penalty referendum.

The minister said, “If the referendum is on the agenda, we will have to ask ourselves this question.” Burkhalter stated that it is not the time to start speculating yet.

According to newspaper 24 minutes, Swiss MPs put forth a clear stance. Christian Democratic People’s Party (PDC) Chair Gerhard Pfister said: “A referendum on the death penalty would be a violation of the core values of the West. A vote like this needs to be prevented in Switzerland.”

Pfister added: “We need to not allow a foreign government that acts against our values to act like this in our country.”

Socialist Party national advisor Tim Guldimann stressed that such a vote in Switzerland is unacceptable. 

Guldmann stated that Switzerland is under the rule of law and not everything can be put to a vote there, and explained: “For instance, there can’t be a vote to reinstate slavery.”


Liberal Radical Party Zurich advisor Doris Fiala gave a warning: “Every European country that doesn’t express its objection to the death penalty in Europe clearly will be complicit with Turkey.”

Law professor Rainer J. Schweizer spoke to the newspaper Blick and said Switzerland should ban voting in such a referendum on its own soil.

Germany and Belgium had also taken clear stances against a possible referendum. 

On Monday, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that they won’t allow voting in Belgium in case of a possible death penalty referendum in Turkey. Michel said: “Allowing such a campaign to take place is most certainly out of the question. We will be uncompromising in this matter.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had stated that they won’t allow voting in a possible death penalty referendum on German soil.

Source: ANF, May 10, 2017

Related content: Peine de mort en Turquie: «non» à un vote en Suisse, 10 mai 2017

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