Rep. Ayanna Pressley proposes bill to abolish the reinstatement of capital punishment

The Massachusetts lawmaker was swift in her response to the new policy which will move federal capital punishment back into practice after nearly 20-year hiatus

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listens during a news conference with members of the Progressive Caucus in Washington, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

After the Department of Justice announced its plan to resume capital punishment, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, announced her plan to introduce a bill that would abolish the death penalty, according to The Hill.

Yesterday evening, July 25, the Massachusetts congresswoman retweeted an image of the legislation, as well as her plans to end Attorney General William Barr’s reinstatement of capital punishment at the federal level.

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“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Barr says in a statement on the Justice Department’s website, explaining why he feels the federal death penalty should be imposed on five death row inmates who had been convicted in several gruesome murders.

“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” he continues. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

But Pressley was critical of Barr when his plans first went public, with the following retweet:

“The same racist rhetoric coming from the occupant of the White House, who called for the execution of the Exonerated 5, is what led to this racist, vile policy,” she said on Twitter. “It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. The cruelty is the point — this is by design.”

According to The Hill, Pressley’s bill seeks to “prohibit the use of the death penalty for any violation of federal law, and for other purposes.” It also calls for any person sentenced to death prior to law’s enactment to be re-sentenced.

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According to the Death Penalty Information Center, only three federal executions have taken place between 1988 and the present day. Over the past decade the total number of execution has declined drastically, due in part to concerns in the justice system and activists of capital punishment disproportionately affecting that of African American inmates.