As Trump ramps up executions, Biden must rally US to end death penalty

Donald Trump Toonsource: USA Today
published: December 2020

This spasm of state murder is unprecedented. Lives should not be subject to the whims of prosecutors, judges and rogue outgoing presidents like Trump.

The American people have spoken and elected Joe Biden to be our next president. In a civilized country, the process of smoothly handing over power from one side to the other would consist, at the bare minimum, of precluding irrevocable decisions by the outgoing administration. Attorney General William Barr’s reaction: Kill as many people as he can as quickly as possible.

The Trump administration’s final spasms of state murder make one thing clear: Biden must abolish the federal death penalty. Every state should follow suit. No longer should lives be subject to the political whims of prosecutors, judges and rogue outgoing presidents.

The current spate of executions at the federal level is unprecedented. When Orlando Hall was executed Nov. 20, it was the first federal execution during a transition period between one president and the next since 1889. Trump and Barr are building a bridge back to the 19th century.

Not only is their policy regressive, but the difficulty of obtaining the drugs for lethal injections inspired Barr to issue a new rule permitting the use of firing squads and electrocutions as means of execution. On the other hand, as Liliana Segura noted in The Intercept, Hall was one of the first people convicted under the expansion of federal death row under the 1994 crime bill, which Biden championed. No one’s hands are clean.

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