The Death Penalty is Constitutional

The United States Supreme Court said this about the death penalty (In Gregg v. Georgia, 1976):

"The imposition of the death penalty for the crime of murder has a long history of acceptance both in the United States and in England. . . ."

"It is apparent from the text of the Constitution itself that the existence of capital punishment was accepted by the Framers. At the time the Eighth Amendment was ratified, capital punishment was a common sanction in every State. Indeed, the First Congress of the United States enacted legislation providing death as the penalty for specified crimes. The Fifth Amendment, adopted at the same time as the Eighth, contemplated the continued existence of the capital sanction by imposing certain limits on the prosecution of capital cases:"

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury . . . ; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; . . . nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. . . ."

"And the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted over three-quarters of a century later, similarly contemplates the existence of the capital sanction in providing that no State shall deprive any person of "life, liberty, or property" without due process of law."

"For nearly two centuries, this Court, repeatedly and often expressly, has recognized that capital punishment is not invalid per se. . . ."


The US Supreme Court  has for over 200 years, repeatedly declared the death penalty to be constitutional (except for the four years from 1972 to 1976). It based it's decisions on two Amendments to the Constitution that specifically mention the death penalty as follows:

The 5th Amendment to the Constitution says: "No person shall be ... deprived of life ... without due process of law."

The 14th Amendment says: "No state shall ... deprive any person of life ... without due process of law."

Plus the Supreme Court noted that when the Eight Amendment was written regarding cruel and unusual punishment, capital punishment was a common sanction in every State


Even though the death penalty has been legal in the US for over 200 years, the ACLU uses it's 2,000 lawyers to oppose it.  A common misunderstanding is that the ACLU supports the Constitution.  But in the "About the ACLU Section" of their Web Site, they don't claim to support all parts of it.  They only support the parts that agree with their aganda.  And in cases such as the death penalty, they actually use their lawyers to work against the Constitution.

 This Web Page was created June 2007
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