Sensible Application of Stare Decisis or a Rewriting of the Constitution: An Examination of Helling V. Mckinney

13 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 705

24 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2016

See all articles by Jeffrey Kinsler

Jeffrey Kinsler

Belmont University - College of Law

Date Written: 1994

Abstract

In Helling v. McKinney, the Supreme Court held that compelled exposure to environmental tobacco smoke ("ETS") may constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Section I of this article explores the medical evidence linking ETS to lung cancer, heart disease and certain other health risks in nonsmokers. Section II examines the history of the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, particularly as it relates to dangerous or unhealthy prison conditions. Section III analyzes the decision in Helling v. McKinney. Section IV questions whether a judicial ban on smoking would itself constitute cruel and unusual punishment to smokers. Finally, Section V illustrates that the Supreme Court's decision in Helling is consistent with Eighth Amendment history and precedent.

Keywords: Helling v. McKinney, environmental tobacco smoke ("ETS"), cruel and unusual punishment, United States Constitutional Law, Eighth Amendment

Suggested Citation

Kinsler, Jeffrey, Sensible Application of Stare Decisis or a Rewriting of the Constitution: An Examination of Helling V. Mckinney (1994). 13 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 705. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2795128

Jeffrey Kinsler (Contact Author)

Belmont University - College of Law ( email )

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
United States

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