Cruel and Unusual
"We are not simply concerned to determine when violence 'works'; we are equally concerned to judge its rightness and propriety. . . . The most difficult task for those who would limit or eliminate violence lies in avoiding those situations in which men believe violence to be legitimate. And that remains the perennial challenge to political philosophy, to legislators, and to the law."
WILSON CAREY MCWILLIAMS
Despite the groundbreaking action in California, there was no shortage of rumors that the Supreme Court intended to uphold the death penalty. A well-known reporter claimed privately that he had been tipped off by an especially reliable source; another said he had learned from a politician's aide that Justice Stewart's critical swing vote would be cast to support the states. LDF lawyers first heard that an adverse ruling would be announced on a Thursday in mid- June, then on a Monday; first that abolition would lose by a vote of 6 to 3, then by a margin of 5 to 4. Both days came and went but no decision was forthcoming.
The gossip was disturbing, not so much because the lawyers believed it--they all knew that Supreme Court personnel were extraordinarily tight-lipped--but because it conformed so closely to their own estimate. The Burger