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Supreme Court likely to reinstate death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber


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Power Line

Paul Mirengoff

October 14, 2021

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard argument in the case of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. A jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death, but the liberal First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that sentence.

The Washington Post’s report is here. Bill Otis discusses the oral argument here.

The Post infers from the Justices’ questions that the Court will overturn the First Circuit’s decision, thereby reinstating the death penalty. CNN sees it the same way.


Justice Barrett asked the DOJ’s lawyer about this. According to the Post, the lawyer responded that there would be time for the administration to consider clemency or other issues in Tsarnaev’s case, but that the point here was to reinstate a sentence that was legally justified.

I doubt that even Team Biden will spend time considering clemency for Tsarnaev. Otherwise, the answer is fair enough. The DOJ wants to defend the district court’s decision and the jury’s conclusion as consistent with the law, even though it opposes the death penalty as a matter of policy.

But I would like to hear the Biden administration publicly explain why, as a matter of policy, the Boston Marathon bombers, including the older brother had he been taken alive, shouldn’t be executed for their wanton butchery.

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