Celebrating the Jurisprudence of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Scrupulous in Applying the Law: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Capital Punishment
New York City Law Review, Vol. 7, p. 241, 2004
32 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2009
Date Written: September 1, 2004
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1993 coincided with rising concerns about the use of the death penalty in the United States. To date, Justice Ginsburg has not written a majority opinion upholding a death sentence. In Bell v. Cone, Justice Ginsburg joined a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Rehnquist that upheld a Tennessee death penalty by an eight to one vote, with Justice Stevens dissenting. The sentencing process used by South Carolina in Shafer had apparently been adopted by the State to get around the requirements of Simmons, but the majority opinion was content with correcting the process and did not offer any especially harsh words for the State. It is also significant in that it is only her third death penalty majority opinion for the Court, again in a case with a seven-to-two vote. No discussion of death penalty jurisprudence is complete without considering habeas corpus, a procedural area of the law that is intertwined with the rights of capital defendants. Penry II -- like Ring, Simmons, and Shafer -- is important because it reasserts the importance of the role of a fully in-formed jury as the basic foundation of a fair capital sentencing hearing.
Keywords: Death Penalty, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Capital Punishment, U.S. Supreme Court
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