Appendix to opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.
evidence at trial, where their sponsors can be examined and cross-examined about these matters.
* * *
There are strong reasons for limiting our inquiry into what constitutes an evolving standard of decency under the Eighth Amendment to the laws passed by legislatures and the practices of sentencing juries in America. Here, the Court goes beyond these well-established objective indicators of contemporary values. It finds "further support to [its] conclusion" that a national consensus has developed against imposing the death penalty on all mentally retarded defendants in international opinion, the views of professional and religious organizations, and opinion polls not demonstrated to be reliable. Ante, at 317, n. 21. Believing this view to be seriously mistaken, I dissent.
APPENDIX TO OPINION OF REHNQUIST, C. J. Poll and survey results reported in Brief for American Association on Mental Retardation et al. as Amici Curiae 3a-7a, and cited by the Court, ante, at 317, n. 21:
|AR||Arkansans' Opinion on the Death Penalty, Opinion Research Associates, Inc., Q. 13 (July 1992) John DiPippa, Will Fairchild's Death Violate the Constitution, or Simply Our Morality?, Arkansas Forum, Sept. 1993||1992||61% never appropriate 17% is appropriate 5% opposed to all executions 17% undecided||"Some people say that there is nothing wrong with executing a person who is mentally retarded. Others say that the death penalty should never be imposed on a person who is mentally retarded. Which of these positions comes closest to your own?"|
Last modified: October 4, 2007