The Atlantic

America’s Shadow Death Row

The government does not exclusively kill people who are on death row. It condemns many to die by drone strike.
Source: Christopher Griffin / Handout / Reuters

Last week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor published a dissent in a death-penalty case that flagged the striking number of killings taking place in the last months of the Trump administration. “After seventeen years without a single federal execution, the Government has executed twelve people since July,” she wrote, calling it “an unprecedented, breakneck timetable of executions.” As an opponent of capital punishment, I am pleased to see it criticized. But Sotomayor’s claim that the federal government went 17 years without executing anyone is misleading, because the federal government does not exclusively kill men and women who are on death row. It maintains a kill list of people

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