The Death Penalty: A Constitutional Dilemma
Although the death penalty is morally defensible in theory, in its practical application it violates the Eighth and the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This paper examines the relationship between the death penalty and the U.S Constitution in order to offer insight on the admissibility of the Death Penalty as capital punishment. The first half of this paper explores the interpretation of the U.S Constitution as a whole and the second half then deals with the manner in which the death penalty is actually administered, demonstrating how it violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S Constitution.
The United States Constitution can be interpreted in two ways in my opinion. In its narrower characterization it can be regarded as being just as relevant and comprehensive now as it was when it was first drafted in the 18th century. It is then interpreted only in the context of the society for which it was written and is considered binding on its citizens regardless of the progression of time and the possible gradual evolution of values of the society it seeks to regulate. In its broader definition, however, it can be considered as a set of guidelines that govern a society’s conduct and are subject to review and reconsideration as the society grows and evolves so that its precepts remain relevant and applicable to contemporary circumstances.
Before analyzing the implications of adopting each approach, it is important to first understand the purpose that a constitution serves in the first place. The purpose of a constitution is to establish order within a society in order to distinguish a people from a mob. It is meant to be an enduring set of guidelines that remain applicable to a country’s citizens for all times to come if a constitution were to become irrelevant, social order would dissolve into anarchy. Keeping this in mind, I will now consider the merits of both interpretations...