03/17/2005: Cruel and Unusual
Prof. Eugene Volokh destroys the last shred of respect I had for him:
I like civilization, but some forms of savagery deserve to be met not just with cold, bloodless justice but with the deliberate infliction of pain, with cruel vengeance rather than with supposed humaneness or squeamishness. I think it slights the burning injustice of the murders, and the pain of the families, to react in any other way.
And, yes, I know this aligns me in this instance with the Iranian government — but even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and in this instance the Iranians are quite correct.
UPDATE: I should mention that such a punishment would probably violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. I'm not an expert on the history of the clause, but my point is that the punishment is proper because it's cruel (i.e., because it involves the deliberate infliction of pain as part of the punishment), so it may well be unconstitutional. I would therefore endorse amending the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause to expressly exclude punishment for some sorts of mass murders.
Prof. Glenn Reynolds, predictably, agrees with Volokh, but I've never had any respect for Reynolds. Clayton Cramer (whom I've mocked repeatedly in the past), to his credit, finds Prof. Volokh's view disgusting.
I endorse what Matthew Yglesias had to say. I'll only add that this proves to me that the only Volokh Conspirator worth reading anymore is Orin Kerr.
Brock on 03.17.05 @ 06:28 PM CST