„Yet the ultimate problem is more fundamental. I have long believed that the death penalty is in all circumstances a barbaric and inhuman punishment that violates our Constitution. Even the most vile murderer does not release the state from its constitutional obligation to respect human dignity, for the state does not honor the victim by emulating the murderer who took his life. The fatal infirmity of capital punishment is that it treats members of the human race as non-humans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded.“

—  William J. Brennan, Writing in Reason and Passion: Justice Brennan's Enduring Influence (1997).
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William J. Brennan2
1906 - 1997
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—  Jesse Ventura American politician and former professional wrestler 1951
Context: How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers. Americans have a right to go about their lives without worrying about these people being back out on the street. So until we can make sure they're off the street permanently, we have to grit our teeth and put up with the death penalty. So we need to work toward making a life sentence meaningful again. If life meant life, I could, if you'll excuse the pun, live without the death penalty. We don't have it here in Minnesota, thank God, and I won't advocate to get it. But I will advocate to make life in prison mean life. I don't think I would want the responsibility for enforcing the death penalties. There's always the inevitable question of whether someone you gave the order to execute might truly have been innocent.

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„I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems.“

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Context: The head of Christians does not, as a rule, have power to punish secular wrongs with a capital penalty and other bodily penalties and it is for thus punishing such wrongs that temporal power and riches are chiefly necessary; such punishment is granted chiefly to the secular power. The pope therefore, can, as a rule, correct wrongdoers only with a spiritual penalty. It is not, therefore, necessary that he should excel in temporal power or abound in temporal riches, but it is enough that Christians should willingly obey him. "A Letter to the Friars Minor" (1334) as translated in A Letter to the Friars Minor and other Writings (1995) edited by A. S. McGrade and John Kilcullen, p. 204.

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