In a fairly dramatic event, the American Law Institute, which created the “intellectual framework” of our capital justice system, walked away from one of its defining projects: finding a intellectual rationale for capital punishment.

As this New York Times article explains, the A.L.I. walking away from this means something different to various groups. Some defenders of the death penalty believe this is fine and acceptable, while those who are against the death penalty believe this is rebuke of the intellectual underpinning of it all.