There's a statement in the Eighth Amendment which says, "...nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted". It wasn't until Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S. 238) 1972 that the progressive activist side of the court was able to invent the trope that the death penalty could be considered cruel and unusual and be barred by the Constitution. None of them could agree with each other as to why this was the case, but the one excuse in common was about the "arbitrary imposition" of the punishment. (Basically, they were saying because it was rare and arbitrarily applied, they could say that was cruel). This is something that the Founding Fathers would have likely been completely surprised by, as capital punishment was quite common (thus not unusual) punishment for the prior 200 (nay, thousands) of years. Again, when Democrats/left can't win the right way (a Constitutional Amendment, etc), they just cheat and lie. The States rewrote their Capital Punishment laws to guarantee that it would be less arbitrary, and with their core excuse gone, even the liberal Supreme's had admit in Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153 ) 1976, that the death sentence could be imposed without being cruel and unusual.
|Eighth Amendment||For 200 (or 2,000) years, the Death penalty was not considered cruel and certainly not unusual. Until in 1972 (Furman v. Georgia) the left wing of the court used that Capital Punishment was being applied too infrequently, as an excuse to invent that the "arbitrary application" was Cruel and Unusual, and thus against the 8th Amendment, and overturned all Death Penalties in the U.S. Because if you can't win through legal means, just cheat and make shit up.||Of course the arrogance of 5 Judges thinking that they knew more than all the other Judges who had ruled on death penalty cases in our nations history, as well as the authors who wrote the law (and didn't exclude death penalty when they did), is unfathomable. 37 states quickly made made the rules for applying the death penalty less "arbitrary", and less unusual (more common), and even a few of the left side of the court had to reverse themselves, and respect the Constitution. Thus capital punishment was allowed again. But the permanent damage to the court (and trust in it), was done.|
❝ Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. ❞
This was the law for ≈200 years, until progressives undermined the rule of law, and set the stage for repeated legal fights. (Thanks for that). Some notes:
- In Wilkerson v. Utah (99 U.S. 130) 1878, the Supreme Court said that execution by firing squad was not cruel and unusual punishment. But they also commented that drawing and quartering, public dissection, burning alive, or disembowelment were cruel and unusual punishment. Not that anyone had suggested any of those -- they just offered some unsolicited examples.
- Up until 1962 the Supremes decided that the 8th only applied to the federal government. But then in Robinson v. California (370 U.S. 66) the leftists got amnesia to all that precedent (and the 9th or 10th Amendments) and decided that the 14th amendment extended the 8th's powers, so that it could be applied to the states as well, in ways that the author of the 14th as well as the Bill of Rights would have been gobsmacked over.
- Then to continue incremental erosion of the constitutional original intent, in Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S. 238) 1972 the court ignored legal precedence and common sense, and went full progressive feelings over sanity, and ruled that since it had become more rare and was only applied arbitrarily (wantonly and so freakishly imposed), that the randomness of imposition made it cruel and unusual -- in one of the court's biggest WTF moments.
- None of the judges who supported the opinion could agree on why it was cruel and unusual (other than it was arbitrarily applied). A couple whined that it was applied more to blacks and there could be racial biases, but discrimination had not been proved. A couple loons claimed the death penalty was in itself "cruel and unusual punishment," and incompatible with the "evolving standards" of decency of a contemporary society. Even if true, that wasn't anywhere in the constitution so not up to the Supremes to rule on.
- In the next 4 years, 37 states enacted new death penalty laws aimed at overcoming the court's concerns about arbitrary imposition of the death penalty, and Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153) 1976 went back up, and won back the States right of being able to impose the death penalty.
- Later a few more rulings were that a minor could commit any kind of cruel act they wanted and not be subject to the Death Penalty, as somehow your 18th birthday was magic, and when you were to start being held accountable for your actions, but 17 years, 11 months, 29 days, and 23 hours, 59 minutes, and you were not as responsible for your own actions.