Death Penalty: A Horrifying Lottery

A "Horrifying Lottery"

Conservatives have been pressing for reinstatement of the death penalty for federal crimes such as espionage and assassination of a President ever since the Supreme Court effectively struck it down 15 years ago. Now the Justice Department is lending its weight to the cause. In what critics see as an end run around Congress, U.S. attorneys are urging the U.S. Sentencing Commission to issue guidelines for the use of capital punishment that would be binding on federal judges.

But the opposition is building. Last week, before a session of the commission, Amnesty International USA sternly objected to reinstatement of the penalty....

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