On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said he would not be surprised if the death penalty was abolished in the United States in the near future.

In a speech at the University of Minnesota Law School, he said that previous SCOTUS death penalty decisions have made it “practically impossible to impose it, but we have not formally held it to be unconstitutional,” and “it wouldn’t surprise me if it did” fall.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

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The Supreme Court this month began its latest term and has already heard one death penalty challenge out of Kansas. While that case is limited in scope it was the first high court hearing on death penalty cases since a bitter clash over lethal injection procedures exposed deep divisions among the justices last term. The court intends to consider a case from Florida that questions whether judges, rather than juries, can impose a death sentence, especially when the jury is not unanimous in recommending death.

States including Ohio and Mississippi have ordered executions to temporarily halt after lethal injection drugs have proven hard to come by. On October 1, Virginia executed serial killer Alfredo Prieto after purchasing pentobarbital from Texas, which has not disclosed how they obtain the drug.

In the speech, Scalia also said that he may retire someday, but he’s not in any immediate hurry.

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“As soon as I think I’m getting lazier and I just can’t do the job as well, I’m going to get off there. I want to preserve whatever reputation I have,” he said. “If you’ve lost your smarts, yeah, you should get off. But that hasn’t been the case.”


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Image via AP.