20050317: Economics 113: Practice Exam for Second Midterm
A Positive Program for Social Security

Getting *Really* Medieval

Another person sides with the Ayatollah Khomeini instead of with James Madison:

Here we have James Madison, George Washington, and company:

Amendments to the Constitution VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Here we have Eugene Volokh:

Eugene Volokh: I am especially pleased that the killing... was a slow throttling, and was preceded by a flogging. The one thing that troubles me (besides the fact that the murderer could only be killed once) is that the accomplice was sentenced to only 15 years.... I am being perfectly serious, by the way.... [S]ome 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.... And, yes, I know this aligns me in this instance with the Iranian government.... [T]he punishment is proper because it's cruel.... I would therefore endorse amending the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause.... I think the Bill of Rights is generally a great idea, but I don't think it's holy writ handed down from on high....


A couple of people pointed out the risk of error.... [L]ocking up the wrong man for life isn't much better in my book than executing the wrong man.... I don't see it as much of an argument for a painless execution as opposed to a painful one...

Just don't let this guy near the carving knife at UCLA faculty dinners. That's what I'm saying.

Even the simple arguments--like that giving victims' relatives a leading place in the process increases the likelihood of error; or that if you let your rulers torture, you will soon find that you have rulers who like to torture--elude Volokh. There is a choice between Justice Coke and Judge Lynch, and we have chosen the Justice Coke side for very good reasons.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh sees reason:

The Volokh Conspiracy - : Mark Kleiman's Extremely Sensible Post Has Persuaded Me that much as some monsters... deserve a deliberately painful death, our society's legal system (no matter what constitutional amendments there may be) can't provide it.