Justice Antonin Scalia thinks that the liberal Supreme Court justices are too privileged to understand the need for the death penalty.
Following a ruling that found that allowed the use of a controversial death penalty drug, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a strongly worded opinion arguing that the death penalty itself may be unconstitutional.
Scalia fired back.
As the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly points out, the conservative justice implied in an opinion that the reason that Breyer is opposed to the death penalty is because he is too rich and removed from the threat of violence to understand how the death penalty deters criminals.
“But we federal judges live in a world apart from the vast majority of Americans. After work, we retire to homes in placid suburbia or to high-rise co-ops with guards at the door. We are not confronted with the threat of violence that is ever present in many Americans’ everyday lives. The suggestion that the incremental deterrent effect of capital punishment does not seem ‘significant’ reflects, it seems to me, a let-them-eat-cake obliviousness to the needs of others. Let the People decide how much incremental deterrence is appropriate.”
The case itself revolved around whether the lethal injection drug midazolam violated the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Prisoners on Oklahoma’s death row brought the case, citing the drug’s record for botched executions.
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