Last updated on: 8/3/2012 | Author:

William J. Brennan, Jr., JD Biography

Former US Supreme Court Justice
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"

“Death is not only an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity, but it serves no penal purpose more effectively than a less severe punishment; therefore the principle inherent in the Clause that prohibits pointless infliction of excessive punishment when less severe punishment can adequately achieve the same purposes invalidates the punishment.”

Gregg v. Georgia, dissenting opinion, July 2, 1976

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to death penalty issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to death penalty issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Associate Justice, US Supreme Court, 1956-1990
  • Colonel, US Army
  • Attorney, private practice, 1928-1932
  • JD, Harvard University, 1931
  • BS, Economics, University of Pennsylvania, 1928
  • Born Apr. 25, 1906, died July 24, 1997
  • Appointed to the Supreme Court by President Eisenhower
Quoted in:
  1. Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?