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American Constitution Society


Is the End in Sight? The Questionable Future of Capital Punishment in America


For the first time in our nation’s history, half of all states in the country have either outright banned or declared moratoria on capital punishment. Even in states that maintain the death penalty, capital prosecutions and executions have steadily declined in recent years, with just four counties in Texas and one in Missouri accounting for over fifty percent of executions in the past ten years. At the same time, support for capital punishment is at a near half-century low, with sixty percent of Americans supporting life in prison over the death penalty. What do these trends tell us about the future of the death penalty in America? Can we continue to justify its use as we attempt to reckon with the estimated 170 people previously sentenced to death who have been exonerated and the overwhelming evidence of racism in its application? When a penalty is imposed so infrequently and seemingly arbitrarily based on geography, race, and even happenstance, can it survive good-faith constitutional scrutiny?

Join ACS on Thursday, November 19 at 10:30am PST when our panel of experts will consider the future of the death penalty in America.

Russ Feingold, HLS '79, President, American Constitution Society

Terrica Redfield GanzyDeputy Director at the Southern Center for Human Rights
Sam KaminProfessor of Law at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law
Laura PorterExecutive Director of the 8th Amendment Project
Maurice ChammahStaff Writer for the Marshall Project; Author of the forthcoming book "Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty” (moderator).

Register here.