As part of the National Constitution Center’s 27 Amendments (In 27 Days) project, each day we will look at a constitutional amendment. Through partnerships with leading scholars and universities, government agencies, media outlets, and more, the National Constitution Center will profile one amendment each day throughout the month of February.
Full Text of the Eighth Amendment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Neither bail nor punishment for a crime are to be unreasonably severe. The “cruel and unusual punishments” clause has been the basis for challenges to the death penalty. Source: U.S. Senate
1. The Library of Congress Constitution Annotated. Contains a detailed history of the amendment, along with past and recent court cases. Here is a link to the section on the Eighth Amendment. Here are explanations from the LOC that are in an online-friendly format from FindLaw:
- Excessive Bail
- Excessive Fines
- Cruel and Unusual Punishments
- Style of Interpretation
- ”Cruel and Unusual Punishments”
- Capital Punishment
- Prisons and Punishment
- Limitation of Clause to Criminal Punishment
2. Cornell Legal Information Institute. Includes information from Wex, a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia sponsored and hosted by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School. Wex entries are collaboratively created and edited by legal experts.
3. An extensive list of Supreme Court cases involving capital punishment is available at the Oyez Project at: http://www.oyez.org/issues/criminal_procedure/cruel_and_unusual_punishment
Learn more about this project at the Constitution Center’s website at: constitutioncenter.org/experience/programs-initiatives/27-amendments-in-27-days/