This book provides far more than an effective overview of the history, current status, and future of capital punishment in America; it supplies excerpts of the words of the justices themselves to make these judicial opinions readily accessible and understandable to general audiences. As a result, readers can see what the justices had to say for themselves regarding more than 30 important cases involving the death penalty-without relying on any intermediary interpretations of their statements. After a brief historical summary of the debate over capital punishment and the arguments favoring and opposing capital punishment, the book "decodes" how the justices have interpreted and applied constitutional provisions to historical and contemporary controversies. Each case includes brief narrative commentaries inserted by the authors to provide context for the justices\' words. Additionally, the excerpted judicial opinions are presented as primary source documents for the reader\'s inspection and reflection.