Event Title

An Arbitrary Death? Capital Punishment and the Supreme Court

Presenter Information

Truman Braslaw, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, A254

Start Date

4-25-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

4-25-2014 2:30 PM

Abstract

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Supreme Court decided three landmark cases on death penalty laws in the United States. While adjudicating these cases, the Court sought to address one of the central questions regarding capital punishment: can it be applied fairly? My paper attempts to understand how the Court found an answer to this question. I employ complementary frameworks of constitutional interpretation, formalism, and realism to suggest that the Court’s focus on judicial restraint and its weak understanding of race and discrimination led it to conclude that capital punishment can be applied “fairly enough” for our constitutional system.

Notes

Session I, Panel 3 - From Birth Control to Death: Studies of Actors, Agency, and the State
Moderator: Erika Hoffman-Dilloway, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Link to full text thesis at OhioLINK ETD Center:
http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=oberlin1398962476

Major

Politics

Advisor(s)

Harry Hirsch, Politics

Project Mentor(s)

Harry Hirsch, Politics

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Apr 25th, 1:30 PM Apr 25th, 2:30 PM

An Arbitrary Death? Capital Punishment and the Supreme Court

Science Center, A254

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Supreme Court decided three landmark cases on death penalty laws in the United States. While adjudicating these cases, the Court sought to address one of the central questions regarding capital punishment: can it be applied fairly? My paper attempts to understand how the Court found an answer to this question. I employ complementary frameworks of constitutional interpretation, formalism, and realism to suggest that the Court’s focus on judicial restraint and its weak understanding of race and discrimination led it to conclude that capital punishment can be applied “fairly enough” for our constitutional system.