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When Is a Repeal Not a Repeal?

When it is nothing more than a ratification of the long-existing status quo.

I bring this up because death penalty abolitionists are licking their chops over a vote this week in a committee of the New Hampshire Senate to abolish that state's death penalty. As the Washington Post reports, the vote was 3-2, and the state House of Representatives has already given overwhelming approval to the bill.

It the bill passes the full Senate (which, as the Post notes, is up in the air), abolitionists are certain to start up again with more op-eds about how "the death penalty is dying."

Well, not really.  As I have previously noted, among the states that have repealed the death penalty in recent years, it barely existed anyway.

This is especially so in New Hampshire.  The fact the Post fails to report is that the Granite State has not executed anyone since 1939.


From a retentionist point of view, I'd say that the only state where abolition was really a significant loss was in Illinois. They had been executing murderers fairly regularly including the notorious John Wayne Gacy.

Illinois had been executing killers during the 1990's, correct. But at the time it abolished the death penalty in 2011, it had not executed anyone in 12 years.

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