Religious communities have been deeply involved on both sides of the capital punishment issue. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a case challenging use of lethal injection, a Pew Forum special report examines the history of the death penalty, arguments before the court and public opinion.
As the '08 elections approach, what are the views of Republicans, Democrats and the general public on "social values" issues? And how have they changed over time?
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on a case brought by two Kentucky prisoners, who argue that the state's lethal injection drug regimen exposes inmates to illegal cruel and unusual punishment. But – to the disappointment of death-penalty opponents – the use of lethal injection continues.
Beginning with its temporary moratorium on the death penalty 35 years ago this month, the Supreme Court has changed its view of capital punishment more than once. The public, however, has not.
After 897 executions by lethal injection over the past 25 years, the role of doctors in carrying out the death penalty is surfacing as the latest ethical issue to force a re-examination of capital punishment in the United States.
Already effectively on hold in 12 states, the death penalty will come under further attack in state legislatures and courts this year. In particular, lethal injection, once seen as a more humane alternative to the gas chamber, electric chair, firing squad or gallows now faces serious challenges.