Is the Death Penalty Unconstitutional? The New York Times Thinks So

April 26th, 2006 2:19 PM

Wednesday’s lead Times editorial on lethal injection, "Lethal Cruelty," is another dubious attempt by the Times to argue that the death penalty is somehow unconstitutional, that pesky Fifth Amendment notwithstanding.

"Over the years, several justices have concluded that the death penalty is in all cases unconstitutional, including Justice Harry Blackmun, who famously declared, ‘From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.’ We agree with Justice Blackmun and hope that the tinkering will someday stop and that the law of the land will recognize that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment completely. But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional."

But on its way to citing the Eighth Amendment (barring cruel and unsuual punishment) the editors should have stopped to read the Fifth Amendment, which clearly states (emphasis by Times Watch):

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

As Times Watch reads the amendment, the death penalty clearly is constitutional so long as due process is observed.

For more examples of liberal bias in the New York Times, visit the spiffy new Times Watch website.