Legal Boundary Making - Legal Boundary Making U.S Supreme...

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Legal Boundary Making U.S. Supreme Court Cases
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Outline Law as Exclusionary Mechanism Justice and Legitimacy US Supreme Court Cases
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Dimensions of Justice Equity Human Dignity Just Deserts Function of the Government
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Justice and Legitimacy Undergird all legal decision making Shifts over time Basis for legal review
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Early Beginnings Eighth Amendment (1791) Thirteenth Amendment (1865) Fourteenth Amendment (1868)
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Eighth Amendment (1791) Fairness Human Dignity Just Deserts
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Thirteenth Amendment (1865) Redefining of Civil Rights Government’s Role
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Fourteenth Amendment (1868) Equity Human Dignity Government’s Role Fifth Amendment (1791)
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Fifth Amendment (1791) The Fifth Amendment prevents individuals from being punished without "due process of law." The Fifth Amendment applies to the Federal Government The Fourteenth Amendment applies against the States. While the Fifth Amendment includes a Due process clause, it does not include—as the Fourteenth amendment does— an equal protection clause.
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US Executions Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006
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Unjust and Illegitimate Informal Moratorium International Shifts Civil Rights Movement Widespread Disparities
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Capital Punishment Unconstitutional Furman v. Georgia (1972) “Furman was burglarizing a private home when a family member discovered him. He attempted to flee, and in doing so tripped and fell. The gun that he was carrying went off and killed a resident of the home. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.” Source: The Oyez Project
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Furman v. Georgia (1972) Cruel and Unusual Per Se? Cruel and Unusual as Practiced?
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Furman v. Georgia (1972) Cruel and Unusual as Practiced “Arbitrary and Capricious” No Single Concurring Opinion
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The Furman Court: 5-4 Decision Source: The Oyez Project
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Cruel and Unusual Per Se Two Justices Brennan Marshall
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Justice Brennan First Principle: We know "that the words of the [Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause] are not precise, and that their scope is not static." We know, therefore, that the Clause "must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”
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Justice Brennan The State, even as it punishes, must treat its members with respect for their intrinsic worth as human beings. A punishment is "cruel and unusual," therefore, if it does not comport with human dignity…. deliberate extinguishment of human life by the State is uniquely degrading to human dignity.… The calculated killing of a human being by the State involves, by its very nature, a denial of the executed person's humanity.”
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Justice Brennan (cont’d) Second Principle: The State may not arbitrarily inflict an unusually severe punishment. …our procedures in death cases, rather than resulting in the selection of "extreme" cases for this punishment, actually sanction an arbitrary selection. For this Court has held that juries may, as they
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  • Summer '07
  • Kurtz
  • Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Gregg v. Georgia, Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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