On Monday the court denied review in Walker v. Georgia, a case revolving around the court’s proportionality standard applied to the death penalty. The court has long struggled to find an adequate means of countering racist bias within the capital system and there is little doubt that the issue will rear its ahead again in the future.

For now, however, the court has pushed the issue aside. The case was not accepted and only Justices Stevens made his opposition known. In his statement (there is no dissent against a denial of cert.) he argued that Supreme Court of Georgia gave incomplete proportionality review. In doing so, he argues, they are furthering the “arbitrary or discriminatory imposition of death sentences in contravention of the Eighth Amendment.”

Justice Thomas wrote in a concurrence (which are allowed in cert. denials,) that proportionality is not a required test and that their proportionality test was correctly applied. He also echoes the sentiment of the majority in McCleskey v. Kemp that found “[a]pparent discrepancies are an inevitable part of our criminal justice system.”


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