*Taken from Reason. Written by Lucy Steigerwald.
Given last night’s high-profile executions of Troy Davis in Georgia and Lawrence Russell Brewer in Texas, the question of the death penalty is certain to be discussed at tonight’s Republican presidential candidate’s debate (the program will air on Fox News Channel at 9 p.m. Eastern Time).
All told, September hasn’t been a good month for fans of the death penalty. Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s state, Texas, temporarily halted two executions in as many weeks over fears of racially biased expert testimony and claims ofineffectual legal representation. There was no question of Brewer’s guilt in the horrific, racially charged 1998 dragging murder of James Byrd, but the victim’s family came out against the death penalty. Over in Georgia, serious questions about the guilt of convicted cop killer Troy Davis transformed his execution into an international cause.
But Perry, the leading contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, is probably not worried about any of this because he is, he says, a true-blue small-government conservative.