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Carol s. Steiker & Jordan M. Steiker, The Beginning of the End?, in The Road to Abolition: The Future of Capital Punishment in the United States 97 (Charles Ogletree & Austin Sarat eds., 2009).

Abstract: This chapter examines the prospects for the abolition of death penalty in the United States. It considers the process through which abolition will occur and explains why this process will differ from the pattern that has been seen in European countries such as Portugal, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. It then discusses emerging prospects for the constitutional abolition of capital punishment in the United States in the modern era. It also analyzes the “first-generation” constitutional challenges to the death penalty advanced in the Supreme Court case Furman v. Georgia, which were rejected in subsequent cases, along with other developments that raise the possibility of constitutional change in the status of capital punishment. Finally, it outlines the most likely course that abolition will take and assesses its implications for abolitionist lawyers and activists.