WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of the death penalty in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case.
“The Supreme Court’s decision today to reinstate the death penalty in the Tsarnaev case is deeply disappointing, but unsurprising for this far-right majority Court that has shown time and again its contempt for the people.
“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment that has no place in society. Congress must pass my Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act with Senator Durbin to end the federal death penalty in America and codify its abolishment into law, and I continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to halt federal executions, commute the sentences of those on death row, direct DOJ prosecutors to no longer seek the death penalty, and dismantle the death row facility at Terre Haute. President Biden gave me his word that no one would be executed by the federal government under his watch, and I fully expect him to keep that promise.
“State-sanctioned murder is not justice, no matter how heinous the crime. I remain committed to accountability and healing for everyone impacted by the Boston Marathon bombing and I pray for those who are forced to re-live their trauma each time we are reminded of that devastating day.”
Congresswoman Pressley is the lead sponsor of H.R. 262, the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021, legislation to prohibit the use of the death penalty at the federal level and require re-sentencing of those currently on death row. The legislation is sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The pair first introduced the bill in July 2019, on the same day the Trump Administration announced it would resume executions.
In January 2021, Congresswoman Pressley and Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) led more than 35 of their House colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden calling on him to commute the sentences of every person on federal death row.
Later that month, Congresswoman Pressley and Reps. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Robin Kelly (IL-02) wrote to then-Attorney General-nominee Judge Merrick B. Garland urging him to prioritize President Biden’s commitment to working with Congress to end the federal death penalty and incentivizing states to end capital punishment across the country.
In December 2020, Congresswoman Pressley led 41 of her House colleagues and three Representatives-Elect on a letter calling on President-Elect Joe Biden to end the use of the federal death penalty on his first day in office.
In November 2020, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Durbin, along with Senators Patrick Leahy and Cory Booker, wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr calling for a halt on all scheduled federal executions during the presidential transition period.