|Friday, August 17, 2007 |
Nebraska legislator fights death penalty to the end
The longest-serving lawmaker in the history of
As it happens, Chambers may not need his fellow lawmakers to achieve his goal. On Sept. 4, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging
Chambers, 70, who was first elected in 1970, is central to how the state arrived at this juncture. Just as he has doggedly pursued a death-penalty repeal, he also has used his position on the Judiciary Committee – and a host of legislative stalling tactics – to stifle attempts to use any other method of execution, such as lethal injection, which is far more common across the country.
According to Chambers, he took on the role of obstructionist because he was confident
When the state Supreme Court hands down its decision in State v. Mata, Chambers believes, the justices will hand him a victory in his career-long pursuit.
“I will have achieved by indirection, during the waning hours of my career here, what I could not directly accomplish. This demonstrates that there is more than one way to crack a walnut,” Chambers said in a telephone interview with Stateline.org. “As one with profound respect for living creatures, I cannot use the cliché that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I don’t believe in skinning a cat for any purposes.”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, nine other states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) allow the electric chair under some circumstances, such as if an inmate chooses it or as an alternative to other methods if they are found unconstitutional. None of those states requires the electric chair as
Contact John Gramlich at firstname.lastname@example.org.