We all know that progressives are pushing Joe Biden to end the death penalty. So it’s not a huge surprise that earlier this week Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo to the DOJ that puts all executions on “pause” while the issue is studied.
However, if you read the memo, it’s really a mixed bag. (Isn’t that just like a lawyer?) Garland says the DOJ will not be carrying out any death sentences, but it doesn’t say that the DOJ will stop seeking the death penalty in cases where the DOJ deems it appropriate to do so.
Accordingly, if you’re hoping the feds were going to just eliminate the death penalty, you’re going to come away disappointed. It’s sort of muddled. In the memo, Garland also talks about using a single drug for lethal injections rather than the three drug method, and how that is going to be reviewed. If the DOJ is worried about whether the one drug method is effective, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to do away with the death penalty entirely, does it? Why study it if you’re going to get rid of the whole process?
Cutting against that, Garland talks about “arbitrariness of capital punishment” and its “disparate impact on people of color,” which sort of makes it sound like he’s against the whole idea of capital punishment.
But then going the other way (again) Garland is saying the memo has “no effect” on the DOJ pushing for the death penalty on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.
So, do we all have that clear? The Attorney General isn’t sure if the current drug used for lethal injections is a good idea, and he’s going to have it reviewed. However, he also thinks the death penalty is applied in an arbitrary manner and might be kind of racist. Nevertheless, Garland is pushing for the death penalty for Tsarnaev. But even if Tsarnaev is sentenced to death, the execution might not actually happen since we’re on a “pause”.