Why doesn't Obama abolish the death sentence?

During the campaign, he talked about how he was all for change. The guy got educated at Columbia and Harvard. He even stated himself that the death sentence does little, if anything, to deter crime. That being said, why doesn't he have the guts to abolish the death sentence?


Ok, so why doesn't he try to pass a federal law that would outlaw all execution, both federal and state.

Update 2:

Even if it is a constitutional issue, a new amendment could be added to the constitution. He never even tried to propose such an amendment.

Update 3:

just me, I do not think that the man is special at all. I never voted for him to begin with. I'm just saying that he should be the change that he promised to be.

Update 4:

For those of you who say that Obama doesn't have the power to do it, haven't you ever heard of executive pardons?

21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    He doesn't have the authority under the Constitution to abolish the death sentence. Thank God, because if he had the authority to abolish it, then it seems he would also have the authority to impose it, which has often proved disastrous throughout history.

    He did, however, lead the movement in Illinois--initially against heavy opposition--to require that police interrogations in potential capital cases be videotaped, and worked towards greater racial fairness and forensic objectivity, which ultimately resulted in a moratorium of executions and imposition of the death penalty in Illinois.

    Here is the best summary of his record I could find:


    Source(s): Okay--you're correct that he does in fact have the right to pardon or commute the sentence of any FEDERAL capital offender--but that is not the same as abolishing the death sentence, and it has no bearing on state capital felony convictions. Those must be commuted by a governor, or some duly appointed sentencing board. Without a Constitutional amendment, or a landmark Supreme Court decision, federal executions could just resume as soon as he leaves office.
  • 1 decade ago

    Almost all executions are carried out by states, not the federal government. Obama has no right to intervene in these cases.

    He can pardon in pending death penalty cases in the federal system only, but I'm not certain there are any. The only person executed at the federal level in the past 40 years is Timothy McVeigh, who deserved it and almost certainly wouldn't have been pardoned by any president.

  • 4 years ago

    The death penalty is a law established by each state. Obama cannot take away state sovereignty and abolish the death penalty. Tenth Amendment.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The President cannot simply wave his magic President wand and make something happen. First, the only change in that arena he could make at all would be to abolish the federal death penalty, not the ones used by the states. Second, it would have to get through Congress just like any other bill before he could sign it into law.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Pres does not have that kind of authority.

    The President does NOT pass laws. Federal laws are passed by US Congress. State laws are passed by State legislatures. The "pardon" power of the President has nothing to do with Congress' authority to pass legislation.

  • 4 years ago

    Death Record Search Database : http://www.DeathRecordsInfo.com/Support

  • trout
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    States rights.

  • 1 decade ago

    if he thought he could, he still wouldn't

    because he supports executions as an outlet for community outrage

    he has even supported efforts to extend the application of the death penalty to crimes other than murder

    he wrote and spoke about this himself


    (avatar sentenced to virtual gulag LOL)

    obama's stance on the death penalty is not a manifestation of "common ground" with death penalty republicans

    it is a manifestation of authoritarianism. Obama is a radical who was born to and raised among radicals whose beliefs regarding the sanctity of the individual and of human life are far different than most Americans---even a good many of those Americans who *think* (safely over coffee, on paper) that they are Obama-style liberal/leftists for "change"

    Roland Freisler (google him) exemplified what can happen when a "liberal" court combines with authoritarianism. Such things are what the US Constitution, with its affirmation of G-d given, inalienable rights, is designed to protect us from.

    Like many who served the National Socialists, Freisler introduced himself to leftism as a Bolshevik.

    Nazism had roots in Marxist-Leninist thought, which itself proposes the liquidation of entire cultures deemed incongruent with revolution. See here:


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because most of the death penalty laws are state laws, not federal.

  • 1 decade ago

    The President has neither the authority nor the power to do that.

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