I am having trouble with Justice Potter Stewarts argument and Earnest Van Der Haag's conclusions about the death penalty. These two are in debate over this particular subject but I cannot seem to decide who provides the best argument and why? If possible provide examples of each arguments weakness and strengths.
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I gave you an outline of both positions, court cases, and several works relevant to the case in the attached document. Thank you for asking BrainMass!
Justice Potter Stewart and
Ernest Van Der Haag on the Death Penalty
What I will do here is give an outline of the basic argument of each.
I will keep it as simple as possible.
E. Van der Haag:
His argument is quite simple:
Government exists for one purpose, to maintain an environment where citizens are free and need not worry about violence or crime. If a government cannot do this, then it is not a government.
The death penalty is a rational response of a society that has a criminal class who has declared war on it. This is particularly the case for repeat offenders and organized crime (since they are a society unto themselves). He writes,
The crime rate in the slums is indeed higher than elsewhere; but so is the death rate in hospitals. Slums are no more "causes" of crime, than hospitals are of death; they are locations of crime, as hospitals are of death. Slums and hospitals attract people selectively; neither is the "cause" of the condition (disease in hospitals, poverty in slums) that leads to the selective attraction (van der Hagg, 1969).
In other words, poverty might be correlated with crime, but this does not prove that it is the cause of it, just like illness is not caused by hospitals. Crime is often committed in slums by those that are not from there. No one kills in their own neighborhood. You're too well known there. You go to a place where no one knows who you are.
Deterrence and the restoration of order are the two purposes here. Deterrence requires that the death penalty be used for each and every first degree murder. Not just on occasion.
Restoring order is to take the concept of private revenge away from the people and put it in the hands of the state.
Since no real rehabilitation of such people is possible (certainly, no method has ever been found), eliminating their ...
The death penalty in two different opinions are examined.