Has the “Machinery of Death” Become a Clunker?

Stephen F. Smith *

In 1994, Justice Blackmun famously announced that he would no longer “tinker with the machinery of death.”[1] The timing of that announcement said as much about the state of America’s death penalty on the eve of the new millennium as it did about how he wished to be remembered when he retired from the Supreme Court of the United States later that same year.

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 *     Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame.

[1].    Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141, 1145 (1994) (Blackmun, J., dissenting).