When taking a human life in response to a crime, a state is acting on behalf of all of its citizens. Capital punishment is an expensive procedure with permanent ramifications. It is therefore very important that the matter of capital punishment be seriously reconsidered. In order to protect all of America's citizens, I recommend that congress approve a constitutional amendment that reads:
The states and the federal government shall not under any circumstances execute anyone. All prisoners currently under sentence of death shall have the right to a new trial.
The reasons for such an amendment include the inherent immorality of capital punishment, its inconsistent application and its unjustified costs.
The moral foundations followed today by nearly every nation were laid in 1949. With the horrors of World War II fresh in the minds of every government, nearly all of the world's nations sent delegates to San Francisco and formed the United Nations General Assembly to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights, it was reasoned, "are inherent in every human being. They are not privileges that may be granted by governments for good behavior and they may not be withdrawn for bad behavior" (Amnesty International 1). Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." This right to life cannot be abridged by any government because the treaty states it is one of the "inalienable rights of all members of the human family." Furthermore, Article 5 declares that no person shall be subjected to "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." It is not difficult to assume that killing someone is regarded as degrading...
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...Evolving Context of the Post-Furman Era." 1988. Social Forces: vol. 66.
Porter, Phil. The Economics of Capital Punishment. 1998. <http://www.mindspring.com/~philporter/econ.html>
Scalia, Antonin. A Call for reckoning: Religion and the death Penalty. Speech delivered 25 Jan. 2002.
Sherrill, Robert. "Death Trip: The American Way of Execution." The Nation. 8 Jan. 2001.
Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815. 1988.
Trombley, S. The Execution Protocol: Inside America's Capital Punishment Industry. New York: Crown Publishers, 1992.
U.S. Bishops. "Statement on Capital Punishment." Nov. 1980. <http://www.osjspm.org/cst/cappun.htm> 21 Feb. 2003.
U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Capital Punishment 2001. 2001. <http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/cp01.txt>
Weisberg, J. "This is Your Death," The New Republic, July 1, 1991.
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