Crime, Punishment, Religion, and Constitutional Interpretation

Posted: 29 Mar 2010  

Andrew Koch

Appalachian State University

Paul H. Gates Jr.

Appalachian State University

Abstract

This paper will examine the role cultural beliefs play in the confinement, control, and torture of the human body as acts of justice. Specifically, the work will explore the links between some of the foundational ideas of Christianity and the nature of constitutional law in the United State regarding matters of crime and punishment. These will include the role of biblical interpretation in defining of justice, the significance of the notion of 'free will' in the determination of sentencing for criminal behavior, and the significance of the idea of transcendence in the characterization of the law and punishment. This will include a discussion of the role of natural law. The paper will conclude with some suggestions regarding constitutional interpretation that seeks to move away from the influence of non-secular considerations in matters of criminal justice.

Suggested Citation

Koch, Andrew and Gates, Paul H., Crime, Punishment, Religion, and Constitutional Interpretation. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580458

Andrew Koch

Appalachian State University ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

Paul H. Gates Jr.

Appalachian State University ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

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