Executing the Death Penalty: International Law Influences on United States Supreme Court Decision-Making in Capital Punishment Cases.

I. INTRODUCTION: THE THEME OF “CHANGE” The idea of “change” in public policy is everywhere in the United States today. In significant measure, this is because of the Presidential candidacy of Senator Barrack Obama and his nomination battle with Hillary Clinton. Even the Republican candidate, 71-year-old John McCain, is attempting to recreate himself as an “outsider” and “change” candidate. Unfortunately, this public theme of change has not reached America’s continuing practice of state execution of capital defendants. My lecture this evening will explore the legal changes that have taken place in death penalty law and practice in the United States in recent years, indicate how international law has influenced this change, and comment on how world opinion can affect change in the future.

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