Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on federal executions in the waning days of the Trump administration:
“The rush by the Trump administration and the Barr Justice Department to execute as many federal inmates as possible before President-elect Biden takes office is sickening and immoral.
“Thursday night saw the ninth federal execution this year and the first during a presidential transition in 130 years. More federal executions have been carried out in 2020 than the past 56 years combined.
“No one should approve of this rush to end life. I supported the death penalty in the past, but I changed my position several years ago for a number of reasons.
“First, numerous studies point to the racial disparity in death sentences. The inequity is simply too high for a justice system that seeks impartiality.
“Second, many studies show the death penalty is no deterrent to committing crimes, which is often used as a justification for the death penalty.
“Third, public support for the death penalty has plummeted. In the mid-90s, public support reached 80 percent; today it’s just over 50 percent, the lowest in nearly 50 years.
“More than 20 states ban the death penalty and more than 160 death row inmates have been exonerated over the last five decades. With so much uncertainty, the government should not be allowed to take a life. Period.
“I’m hopeful the Biden administration will reinstate the moratorium on executions that President Trump ended in July 2019. Unfortunately that will be too late for the four people scheduled to be executed before Joe Biden takes office.”