2015 May 27

Nebraska Repeals Death Penalty — First Conservative State to do so in 40 Years


Nebraska repealed the death penalty on this day, overriding the Republican governor’s veto by a vote of 30-19. The Unicameral (Nebraska has only one legislative chamber) had abolished the death penalty a week earlier with 32 votes, and needed 30 to successfully override the veto. Although the Unicameral is officially non-partisan (candidates do not run on party-identified tickets), the political affiliation of all senators is well-known. A majority of those voting to repeal the death penalty were conservative Republicans.

Nebraska is the seventh state to repeal the death penalty since 2007, and is the first heavily Republican state to do so in over 40 years.

The battle was not over, however. Pro-death penalty advocates immediately began a petition campaign to place an initiative on the ballot to restore the death penalty. The deadline for achieving the required number of signatures on the petition is late August.

A month after Nebraska repealed the death penalty, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, wrote a lengthy dissent in Glossp v. Gross (June 29, 2015) reviewing all the evidence on the application of the death penalty and strongly suggesting that it is unconstitutional. Read their dissent.

For all the information about the death penalty in America, go to: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/

Read: David Oshinsky, Capital Punishment on Trial: Furman v. Georgia and the Death Penalty in Modern America (2010)

Learn more: Stuart Banner, The Death Penalty: An American History (2002)



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