Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton discussed her position on the death penalty at a New Hampshire campaign event Wednesday.
In response to a question at St. Anselm College, Clinton said she did not support abolishing the death penalty, although she indicated there should be some changes.
“We have a lot of evidence now that the death penalty has been too frequently applied, and too often in a discriminatory way, so I think we have to take a hard look at it,” Clinton said at the event, according to Politico. “I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”
It’s worth noting that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was an enthusiastic practitioner of the death penalty in Arkansas. When he was governor, he oversaw the execution of Ricky Ray, a man so mentally incapacitated that he requested they save the leftovers from his last meal so he could eat them later.
While Hillary has not made the death penalty an issue in her campaign, it could come up in Nebraska. Her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, has called for abolishing the death penalty.
Nebraska, a Super Tuesday state, has been embroiled in a debate over the death penalty for months. The state’s legislature voted to abolish the death penalty in May, even going so far as to override the governor’s veto. The resulting public outcry caused the decision to be suspended until voters can decide for themselves in a 2016 ballot measure.
The majority of states still have the death penalty but are having difficulty carrying it out. Just last week, federal agents stopped Arizona’s Department of Corrections from carrying a lethal injection drug into the country because it lacked FDA approval.
Various laws and international boycotts have made it nearly impossible for many states to carry out their executions. Nebraska, for example, has 10 people on death row it cannot execute. Ohio announced it will not carry out executions until 2017 because of drug shortages. And now Arizona, with 124 inmates on death row, has been stopped by the feds from getting the chemicals it needs. There are about 3,000 inmates on death row nationwide.
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