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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…

Turkey: Nationalist party calls on government to swiftly reinstate death penalty

Opposition MHP calls on AKP gov't to swiftly reinstate death penalty

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli has issued a strong call to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to swiftly reinstitute the death penalty amid warnings from the European Union.

"Once again I declare my determination. The MHP is present with its full power for a proposal or a draft that will be prepared and accepted in parliament after discussions regarding the imposition of the death penalty," Bahceli said in a parliamentary group meeting on May 9. "It is waiting for this issue to be closed swiftly."

The reinstitution of the death penalty was brought to the agenda repeatedly ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum, particularly by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised to approve any constitutional amendment that would bring back capital punishment. Erdogan said the people were demanding the penalty from the government, especially after the July 2016 coup attempt.

"Is the death penalty a social demand? Yes. Will the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) support it? Yes. Will the president approve it if the law is conveyed to him? That is a 'yes' too. Then we should not wait, sing in someone else's tone or be late. Instead, we should show what Turkey is and will be by declaring to everybody her independence," he said, eliciting applause from party members in the group meeting.

The death penalty has not been implemented since 1984, while Turkey formally abolished capital punishment in 2004 as part of reforms to ease Turkey's accession to the European Union.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in March that any return of the death penalty in Turkey would be a "red line" in the country's stalled EU membership bid.

Bahceli criticized Europe's position on the issue.

"Now some European countries say they will not allow a possible referendum concerning the death penalty.

"So much so that they argue and state that capital punishment is against all the values of European countries. So, is it a part of European values to give support to terrorist organizations?" he said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, May 9, 2017

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