I commend this news, even if it doesn’t become a trend:
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday became the first in the nation to abolish the death penalty since the Supreme Court restored it in 1976. Opponents of capital punishment hope the state’s action may prompt a rethinking of the moral and practical implications of the practice in other states.
New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled General Assembly voted 44 to 36 on Thursday to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole. The action followed a similar vote by the state Senate on Monday. Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat and a death penalty opponent, has said he will sign the legislation.
The repeal bill follows the recommendation of a state commission that reported in January that the death penalty “is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.” …
Indeed. But how this happens is a useful lesson, whatever the topic.
… But equally persuasive to lawmakers was not saving lives but money — it costs more to keep a prisoner indefinitely on death row than incarcerated for life.
There can be a hierarchy of valid reasons to undertake (or prohibit) an action. But what the advocate deems most important is irrelevant in a debate. Convincing others is a better achievement than demonstrating one’s own brilliance.
But mostly, ending the death penalty is great.