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The Road to Abolition?The Future of Capital Punishment in the United States$
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Charles J. Jr. Ogletree and Austin Sarat

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814762172

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814762172.001.0001

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Abolition in the United States by 2050

Abolition in the United States by 2050

On Political Capital and Ordinary Acts of Resistance

(p.72) 3 Abolition in the United States by 2050
The Road to Abolition?

Bernard E. Harcourt

NYU Press

This chapter predicts that capital punishment in the United States will be abolished by 2050. While support for the death penalty will not wane in the face of financial cost-benefit analysis or the cultural authority of scientific evidence, the chapter expects abolition to become a reality because of the strength of moral opposition to the death penalty. It also cites quantitative studies that use cross-national models to systematically assess the determinants of the abolition of the death penalty, along with domestic political and social correlates of abolition. Finally, it explains how political capital and ordinary acts of resistance—or bottom-up political opposition—will provide the momentum for swing states to embrace abolition, resulting in a change of the political climate and a shift in public opinion and ultimately, in a federal constitutional ban on capital punishment by 2050.

Keywords:   capital punishment, United States, death penalty, political capital, acts of resistance, public opinion, constitutional ban, abolition of death penalty, quantitative studies, political opposition

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