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Abstract

This essay begins with a survey of the textual foundations of capital punishment both in the Jewish law and the United States Constitution. The basic texts of the Jewish law and the Constitution are examined for their treatment, or lack thereof, of capital punishment. They are then scrutinized for any potential mitigatory effect on the imposition, structure, and use of capital punishment.

Having established the foundational law, this essay continues by tracing the actual judicial development of capital punishment law in both systems. A comparison is conducted of the interpretation applied to the basic texts by the highest judicial court of each system. The essay concludes by contrasting the two wholly divergent judicial interpretational experiences to divine root causes of the present structure of, and judicial attitude towards, capital punishment in the United States.

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