Confronting the Fear of "Too Much Justice": The Need for a Texas Racial Justice Act

Naidoff, Caitlin
October 2013
Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights;Fall2013, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p169
Academic Journal
Texas should enact a Racial Justice Act. The Supreme Court has acknowledged the constitutional framework's inability to adequately address racial discrimination in the application of the death penalty. Instead, the Court encouraged legislatures to respond to this racial injustice. North Carolina responded with the North Carolina Racial Justice Act (RJA). Texas should follow North Carolina's lead and pass an RJA. Texas shares with North Carolina similar empirical, historical, and anecdotal evidence of racial injustice in capital sentencing, evidencing the same need for reform that led North Carolina to pass an RJA. Yet, interest convergence in Texas suggests Texas' political will to effect reform exceeds North Carolina's political will and could, therefore, withstand the kind of opposition that led to the repeal of North Carolina's RJA. Moreover, Texas' longstanding political will against abolition efforts weighs in favor of passing an RJA because there is little fear that reform could further entrench the death penalty in Texas to a meaningful degree.


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