Judge Alito and the Death Penalty

Goodwin Liu and Lynsay Skiba
Publication Date: 
December 12, 2005

In their paper, Goodwin Liu and Lynsay Skiba examine in detail the five capital cases in which Judge Alito disagreed with his colleagues during his tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Liu and Skiba note that Judge Alito voted to uphold a death sentence in each of these five capital cases. They conclude that, in doing so, Judge Alito "dilute[ed] norms of basic fairness" by taking controversial positions outside-the-mainstream of judicial thought. Finally, they note the unsettling implications of both Judge Alito's judicial methodology and his ideology for the Court's future jurisprudence relating to the death penalty and the war on terror.