Supreme Interpreters

Should the Death Penalty Be Unconstitutional?

The 8th Amendment and the “cruel and unusual punishments” protection were written in 1791 — over 200 years ago! But it was only in the 1960s that people started arguing the death penalty is cruel and unusual. Why so late? Because of a case in 1958 where the Supreme Court said this:

“The [8th] Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” — from Trop v. Dulles (1958)

Some people believe that executing people is not acceptable in modern society. Others disagree.

Click the link to see results from a poll asking Americans about the death penalty. Scroll down to find the tables labeled “Why People Oppose the Death Penalty” and “Why People Support the Death Penalty.”

Response Question: 
  •  Do you support or oppose the death penalty? Find one reason on the list that you agree with and use it to explain your opinion.
  • Click here to see the latest poll numbers. According to this poll, what percent of Americans support and oppose the death penalty?
Response not required