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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

‘We have to pick a great one’: Inside Trump’s plan for a new Supreme Court justice

Donald Trump and Supreme Court
President Trump is driving to execute the same playbook in selecting a new Supreme Court nominee that last year delivered swift confirmation of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, following a methodical course in hopes of avoiding the lurching disorder that so often engulfs his White House.

As Trump looks to reorient the nation’s high court with a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, he has left himself little room for improvisation — in part because he has delegated and outsourced much of the spadework.

Using Gorsuch as a model, the president has said his next nominee will be chosen from a preselected list of 25 candidates, most of them already fixtures on the federal courts who have been subject to public and internal vetting.

The interview process for a half-dozen or so finalists is beginning, including private sit-downs with Trump starting this weekend at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., as well as sessions with White House counsel Donald McGahn and formal FBI background checks. An announcement date has also been set: July 9, the first Monday after the July 4 holiday and the day before Trump jets to Brussels for a week-long European trip.

With just four months until the midterm elections, when any Democratic gains in the Senate would jeopardize a Trump nominee, the White House is working with Senate Republican leaders to set a rapid timeline for voting on a nominee by October so they can take advantage of the GOP’s razor-thin majority in the chamber. Trump and senior White House officials already are personally lobbying key senators, laboring to till the ground ahead of what is expected to be a ferocious nomination battle.

Trump says he understands the stakes.

Trump has told advisers he is looking for three overarching attributes in a replacement for Kennedy. First, one adviser said, Trump insists upon an “extraordinarily well qualified” nominee with a superlative résumé. The president is especially drawn to contenders with name-brand degrees, such as from Ivy League universities such as Harvard or Yale. He also wants to see a portfolio of solid academic writing, though this adviser acknowledged that Trump does not care to read it; he simply wants to know it exists.

Secondly, Trump has said it is essential his nominee be “not weak,” meaning someone with independent judgment and the courage to buck “the political and social fashions of the day,” as the adviser put it.

Thirdly, Trump privately says he wants a nominee who will “interpret the Constitution the way the framers meant it to be,” according to the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to relate a private discussion with the president.

And as he does with all job candidates, Trump will be looking also for personal chemistry, central-casting looks and relatable life stories.

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Source: The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Seung Min Kim, June 30, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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