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Faculty Research Spotlight: Rachel López on “Redeeming Justice”

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

11:45 AM-12:45 PM

On Election Day in 2020, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito asked “do you think that there are any human beings who are not capable of redemption?” during oral argument in Jones v. Mississippi, a case that will examine whether a juvenile can be sentenced to life without parole absent a finding of permanent incorrigibility. In our her forthcoming article, Professor López, along with her co-authors, Terrell Carter and Kempis Songster, tackle Alito’s question head on. Specifically, drawing from human rights law and the lived experience of her co-authors, who were sentenced to life without parole over three decades ago, Professor Lopez argues that the capacity for change is an innate human characteristic and consequently that all humans have a right to redemption, which is embedded in the 8th Amendment through the latent concept of human dignity.

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