New York Times Edit Hacks the Eighth Amendment!

Perhaps good ideas replicate themselves. Just a few days after this site suggested that the campaign to hack the Eighth Amendment was given a lift by Justice Kennedy’s recent testimony before the House, the New York Times editorial board published a great piece invoking Kennedy’s testimony and calling for the Court to end long-term isolation because it violates that same Amendment. Even better, the Times edit specifically praised  Kennedy’s movement away from a weak Eighth Amendment view in the 2003 California Three-Strikes cases to his more robust perspective on what constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” in more recent cases involving the death penalty, juvenile life without parole, and prison overcrowding.

Want a better way to access what the NYT was talking about? Try this:

NYT_Editorial_8th_A_Map

The map above links via Casetext to all the opinions mentioned by the NYT in its 4/4/15 editorial. Please note that this is a “standard view” map — the Y-axis gives the number of votes an opinion receives. Thus the first two opinions on the map, from Breyer in Ewing and Souter in Lockyer are dissents — they received 4 votes. (Technical note: Ewing and Lockyer were actually both decided on 3/5/2003; I changed Lockyer‘s date to 3/6/03 so that it can be better viewed the map).

In online version of their editorial, the NYT provided links to the Oyez and LII versions of the particular cases. Of course, both of these free services are fantastic and deserve our support. One particular advantage to linking to the Casetext versions, however, is that it allows users to annotate and provide commentary on cases in a wiki-like fashion. Thus, if readers want to highlight key language from these NYT-approved cases, they can do so. Hack away!

 

 

The NYT edit call

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