Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nebraska Legislature Abolishes the Death Penalty

Of all the places:
The Nebraska legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Governor Pete Ricketts and abolish the death penalty. Nebraska becomes the 19th state to repeal the death penalty, and the 7th state to do so since 2007.
Of course the Nebraska legislature is overwhelmingly Republican and conservative, but these days many conservatives are turning against the death penalty. George Will explains the conservative case for abolition:
First, the power to inflict death cloaks government with a majesty and pretense of infallibility discordant with conservatism. Second, when capital punishment is inflicted, it cannot later be corrected because of new evidence, so a capital punishment regime must be administered with extraordinary competence. It is, however, a government program...Third, administration of death sentences is so sporadic and protracted that their power to deter is attenuated
Plus there is the very high cost.

This is not the end of the matter. Nebraska has a plebiscite system that allows the voters to override the legislature, and a group called Nebraskans for the Death Penalty is organizing to get the issue on the ballot this fall. We'll see if the voters are as persuadable as the legislators are.

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