|His Appointment||Stanley v. Georgia (1969)||Dandridge v. Williams (1970)||Roe v. Wade (1971)|
|Milliken v. Bradley (1974)||Regents of the Univ. of CA v. Bakke (1978)||Cruzan v. Director MO Dept. of Health (1989)||Perry v. Louisiana (1990)|
Perry v. Louisiana (1990)
Justice Marshall was strongly against the death penalty throughout his entire legal career. It was the punishment that “most deeply offended his impassioned sense of justice and fairness.”1 In Perry v. Louisiana, the state wanted to treat an insane death row prisoner to competency, so that they could execute him, since an insane prisoner could not be executed. This would be an involuntary use of the anti-psychotic drugs, which in Washington v. Harper (1990) the Supreme Court had ruled were legal if they were being used in the prisoner’s best interest. An assistant state attorney general argued that the injected drugs were in fact being used in the prisoner’s best interest; Justice Marshall was not quite persuaded by this argument, to say the least. He sent back a sarcastic reply to this lawyer, "Well, if all you say is true in the interest of Louisiana, while you're giving him the injection, why don't you give enough to kill him then?…It would be cheaper for the state." This comment made the courtroom realize how ridiculous the defense was, and the case was sent back to the Louisiana state court without comment, although it voided the medication order placed by the state court. In late 1992 the Louisiana court ruled that to medicate the prisoner for the purpose of execution was not constitutional.
1 "Justice Marshall's Justice Martial" by
Professor Scott Brewer