Scientizing Culpability: The Implications of Hall v. Florida and the Possibility of a 'Scientific Stare Decisis'

17 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2014 Last revised: 31 Oct 2014

Date Written: August 6, 2014

Abstract

The Supreme Court’s decision in Hall v. Florida holds that “clinical definitions” control the meaning of intellectual disability in the death penalty context. In other words, the Court “scientized” the definition of a legal concept. This article discusses the implications of this unprecedented move. It also introduces the idea of scientific stare decisis — a requirement that groups that are scientifically alike be treated similarly for culpability purposes — as a means of implementing the scientization process.

Keywords: death penalty, intellectual disability, Aktins, Hall v. Florida, stare decisis

Suggested Citation

Slobogin, Christopher, Scientizing Culpability: The Implications of Hall v. Florida and the Possibility of a 'Scientific Stare Decisis' (August 6, 2014). William & Mary Bill of Rights, Vol. 23, 2014; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 14-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2477862

Christopher Slobogin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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