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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Kennedy considering retiring from Supreme Court: reports

Speculation is swirling that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy could announce his retirement as early as this term, The Associated Press and CNN reported Saturday.

Kennedy is considered the most pivotal justice on the Supreme Court, often known for casting the tie-breaking vote in key decisions. 

While he's among the court's conservative justices, he has sided with his liberal colleagues at times, including on the court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, permitting same-sex marriage nationwide. 

But Kennedy, now 80, is said to be considering stepping down from the Supreme Court, according to CNN, though he has not publicly signaled he will do so in the next year.

Fueling such speculation is a reunion between Kennedy and his clerks happening over the weekend that was pushed up a year from its original date, according to the AP.

If Kennedy leaves the Supreme Court in the near future, it would pave the way for President Trump to further shape the court by nominating his replacement. 

Trump's first pick for the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed in April.

Supreme Court nominations, however, have become increasingly political. 

Senate Republicans voted earlier this year to change the chamber's rules to require only 51 votes to confirm nominees to the high court, amid efforts by Democrats to block Gorsuch's confirmation. 

Source: The Hill, Max Greenwood, June 24, 2017

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