There are wide and divergent opinions on the United States’ Supreme Court decisions on capital punishment. While proponents of capital punishment allege that it can be applied as with the existence of sufficient due process, others contend that human life is irreplaceable and that “every person has the right to have their life respected” (Oppenheim, “Capital Punishment in the United States”). While capital punishment has phased in and out of the United States’ criminal justice system in the past few decades, current trends seem to fall out of favor with the death penalty. As Snell indicates, by yearend of 2011, there were 3,082 inmates held across 35 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons under the death sentence, where 9 states
…show more content…
It was found that the jury was not only faulty in its violation of due process procedures in the Fourteenth Amendment, but also human treatment aspects in the Eighth Amendment. Hence, Supreme Court justified the nullification of the death penalty due to the unconstitutionality of the state of Georgia in their death penalty legislation that violated the Eighth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment .
The Furman v. Georgia case sets precedence for the United States in invalidating the wide wielding of discretion in decisions for the death penalty on the federal and state level. The justices who decided upon the case acknowledge that they were not in possession of legislative power, and since the language of the Eighth Amendment is vague and uncertain, that constitutional inquiry must not “seize upon the enigmatic character of the guarantee as an invitation to enact our personal predilections into law” . Furthermore, the justices found that since the clause of the Eighth Amendment is not precise, it must “draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” . From this phrase, a distinct change denotes the mentality of the change in the United States’ criminal justice system, and its budding emphasis on the value and integrity of human life and societal development.
Reading further into the decision, Weems v. United States, 217 U. S. 349, 378 (1910), a