A new, interactive page walks viewers through the main themes of Against the Death Penalty, a new book edited by Professor John Bessler that contains U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer‘s landmark dissent in Glossip v. Gross.
In the 2015 death-penalty case, the court ruled, 5-4, that executions carried out using a three-drug cocktail do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
The petitioners, death-row inmates in Oklahoma, claimed that one of the drugs, a sedative, failed to render a person insensate to pain; the two other drugs cause paralysis and cardiac arrest.
In his dissent, Justice Breyer wrote that “the death penalty, in and of itself, now likely constitutes a legally prohibited ‘cruel and unusual punishment'” and thus violates the Eighth Amendment.
The book was published this year by Brookings Institution Press.