Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Government

Advisor

Jackson N. Sasser, Jr.

Committee Members

Christine Nemacheck

Adam Gershowitz

Abstract

A neutral evaluation of the modern death penalty, a fundamentally flawed institution, necessitates its invalidation. I analyze 428 death sentences and their appellate outcomes from Virginia, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Wyoming, states which represent the gamut of capital punishment regimes in the United States. Employing a legal framework derived from the work of Justice Antonin Scalia—a lifelong and staunch supporter of the death penalty—I argue that the harmonious-reading canon and irreconcilability canons offer a neutral means for ending the American death penalty, and one which would be appropriate given the politicization of what is an irreversible punishment.

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