Author and Attorney Scott Turow Explains Why Conservatives Should Be Applauding Illinois

In the March 10 op-ed section of the Chicago Tribune, author and attorney Scott Turow details why the abolition of the death penalty should be viewed not only as a victory for progressives, but also one for conservatives. In “The Right Has Reason to Applaud”, Turow puts forth three conservative reasons for abolishing the death penalty: it is a failed government program, it is extremely costly, and it goes against the notion of limited government.  Speaking to the death penalty as a costly, failed public policy, Turow writes, “Despite decades of legislation and litigation aimed at establishing procedural bulwarks, the imposition of the death penalty in Illinois remained haphazard… Of course, if the death penalty clearly served a practical purpose like saving lives, these increased costs might be worth it. But in Illinois we have experienced a steady decline in our murder rate since Gov. Ryan first declared the moratorium on executions in January 2000 that has remained in place since.” In closing, Turow directly addresses the conservative notion of limited government, concluding “The conservative-libertarian view that says that the powers of government must be strictly limited supports drawing a clear line prohibiting a democratic government from ever lawfully killing any of the citizens from whom it draws power. That way a regime that vanquished its political enemies or executed despised minorities would mark itself, whatever the legal rigmarole, as an outlaw. At the end of the day, Illinois’ abolition of capital punishment is part of an evolving national recognition that the death penalty is truly un-American.”

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