Bloomberg Law
Jan. 22, 2021, 9:45 AM

Sotomayor Emerges as Heir to Marshall in Death Penalty Dissents

Jordan S. Rubin
Jordan S. Rubin

Justice Sonia Sotomayor has issued several pointed rebukes of how her colleagues are treating death-row inmates in recent months, as she emerges as the late Thurgood Marshall’s heir as the most forceful dissenting voice in capital cases.

Marshall, who founded the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and served as U.S. solicitor general and then justice from 1967-1991, frequently dissented in capital cases alongside fellow death penalty critic William Brennan or did so alone. Both justices thought the death penalty was always unconstitutional and would dissent together on those grounds.

Sotomayor has been going it alone, sometimes alongside other ...

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