America the Pariah

In 1977, when the United States Supreme Court allowed the states to resume capital punishment—which it had previously repudiated as unconstitutional—it required that they follow exacting procedures. Since then, the Court has adopted a largely hands-off approach to the administration of the death penalty. Far from upholding rigorous standards, it has rejected challenges based on well-founded claims of racial and class bias, inadequate legal representation, lack of consular notification, and defendants’ mental incapacity.