"From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored... to develop...rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor... Rather than continue to coddle the court's delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved... I feel... obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed. It is virtually self-evident to me now that no combination of procedural rules or substantive regulations ever can save the death penalty from it's inherent constitutional deficencies... Perhaps one day this court will develop procedural rules or verbal formulas that actually will provide consistency, fairness and reliability in a capital-sentencing scheme. I am not optimistic that such a day will come. I am more optimistic, though, that this court will eventually will conclude that the effort to eliminate arbitrariness while preserving fairness in the infliction of [death] is so plainly doomed to failure that it and the death penalty must be abandoned altogether. (Godfrey v. Georgia, 1980) I may not live to see that day, but I have faith that eventually it will arrive. The path the court has chosen lessen us all."
Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, from an opinion dissenting from the Supreme Court's decision denying review in a Texas death penalty case, Callins v. Collins, Feb. 22 1994.
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