• 36°

Death penalty’s past vital to determining future

Those who cannot — or will not — remember the past indeed may be condemned to repeat it. Knowledge of that peril should spur members of an Ohio Supreme Court committee studying capital punishment to probe whether racial bias has been a factor in condemning people to death.

Justice is supposed to be blind in all ways in America. Yet we know that at times in the past, race played a role in how both victims and perpetrators of crimes were treated.

One of the tasks faced by the high court’s Race and Ethnicity subcommittee is determining whether new safeguards are needed to ensure that decisions to impose the death penalty against those guilty of heinous crimes are made objectively and strictly according to the law.

There is reason to believe that may not always have been the case….

As disturbing as it may be to learn about bias in the past, the panel should approve collection of data on death penalty cases in the past — with one goal being to determine not just whether it occurred, but also when.

Again, not understanding history, especially more recent events, is an invitation to repeat terrible mistakes made in the past.

Warren Tribune Chronicle


Administration must explain use of unmanned drones

The government’s decision to kill three U.S. citizens with drone missiles, allegedly disregarding their rights to due process, has been challenged in federal lawsuits against top military and national security officials.

The Obama Administration now will need to explain how it engages in such attacks….

President Obama, who reportedly approves all drone targeting, cannot be sued for the deaths since he has absolute immunity from litigation stemming from official actions.

The suits are backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights….

Many Americans have reservations about the U.S. government ordering the killing of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, as it has done and continues to do, by unmanned drone aircraft.

It is an impersonal means of waging war, highly susceptible to causing collateral damage, often through the inadvertent killing of innocent people in the vicinity of a targeted person….

It is useful that the lawsuits have been brought, and that the administration will be forced to provide a legal justification for its claimed right to execute American citizens without due process of law.

Such an explanation should be informative to all Americans.

The (Toledo) Blade