He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Federalism and the Death Penalty

27 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2013

See all articles by Katie Ryan Van Camp

Katie Ryan Van Camp

University of Mississippi - School of Law; Ole Miss Federalist Society

Date Written: December 3, 2013

Abstract

In a line of landmark cases beginning with Coker v. Georgia and ending, presently, with Miller v. Alabama, the United States Supreme Court has carved out categorical Eighth Amendment exceptions following its evolving standards of decency analysis. Though the analysis, as touted by the Court, is two-fold, it has, essentially, evolved itself into a one-prong standard. The Court, that is, uses the subjective judgments of the five Justice majority to compromise the objective evidence of support for a particular sanction.

This article argues that the Court has ignored its original intent and what the words "evolving standards of decency" should mean. Nowhere does the Court state in Trop v. Dulles, the case that announced the standard, that the standard should be comprised of the Supreme Court Justices' opinion of what are the evolving standards of decency.

Part I of this article tracks the evolution of the evolving standards of decency analysis used by the Court to carve out categorical Eighth Amendment exceptions. Part II of this article argues that there are problems with the evolving standards of decency analysis used to carve out categorical Eighth Amendment exceptions, in that, it serves as a vehicle for the five Justice majority to compromise the objective indicia. Part III of this article proposes a solution to the problem, in which, there will be a wholly objective standard. Finally, Part IV of this article argues that the proposed standard is more advantageous than the current evolving standards of decency analysis and truer to the intent of the standard.

Keywords: Criminal Procedure, Sentencing, Eighth Amendment, Evolving Standards of Decency, Federalism

Suggested Citation

Van Camp, Katie Ryan, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Federalism and the Death Penalty (December 3, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2363155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2363155

Katie Ryan Van Camp (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi - School of Law ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States

Ole Miss Federalist Society ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
59
Abstract Views
665
rank
367,688
PlumX Metrics