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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: June 2020

3 - Eighth Amendment Federalism

from Part I - A History of the Eighth Amendment

Summary

Disagreements over the original understanding of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment generally center around whether the Clause covers only methods of punishment or is also concerned with proportionality of punishment. Few discussions about the Clause’s original public meaning ever recognize federalism as a goal furthered by the Clause. My claim is that, on an original understanding of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, federalism is a central value of the Clause that has long been overlooked.