Contributor Lyle Denniston looks at how the core meaning of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” could be changing.
In a unanimous ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court overturned an Indiana Supreme Court decision that said that part of federal Constitution’s Eighth Amendment didn’t apply to the states.
On February 13, 1689, Parliament in London allows two new monarchs to take the throne if they honor the rights of English citizens. What became known as the English Bill of Rights was an important influence on the later American Constitution.
On June 29, 1972, the Court decided in a complicated ruling, Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty application in three cases was unconstitutional. The Court clarified that ruling in 1976, putting the death penalty back on the books under different circumstances.
While still insisting that state governments do not have to follow exactly all of the medical community's standards for defining intellectual disability of criminal suspects, a divided Supreme Court on Tuesday narrowed even further states' option to create their own standards when deciding who is eligible to be executed for murder.
Constitution Daily Supreme Court correspondent Lyle Denniston reports on Tuesday's arguments about a death penalty case involving an intellectually disabled defendant in Texas.
On Monday, the Supreme Court turned aside a plea to require jurors to satisfy the toughest legal test before they may vote to impose the death penalty, rejecting a new attempt by lawyers to further define an important Sixth Amendment ruling.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court added three cases to its docket for the Court’s next term. Two of the newly granted cases take on issues surrounding the death penalty, while the other case involves state legislature redistricting.
Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, says a death penalty case accepted by the Supreme Court offers a puzzle: Just when is it appropriate to turn a constitutional question into a cultural issue to be mediated by private institutions?
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana, one of two cases heard in October that involve the Eighth Amendment.