Upcoming Event

Carol S. Steiker

discusses

Courting Death:
The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment

This event includes a book signing

Date

Mar
24
Friday
March 24, 2017
3:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes Harvard Law School's Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law CAROL S. STEIKER—Faculty Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program and the second woman to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review—for a discussion of her book, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment, co-authored with her brother Jordan M. Steiker. 

About Courting Death

Unique among Western democracies in refusing to eradicate the death penalty, the United States has attempted instead to reform and rationalize state death penalty practices through federal constitutional law. Courting Death traces the unusual and distinctive history of top-down judicial regulation of capital punishment under the Constitution and its unanticipated consequences for our time.

In the 1960s and 1970s, in the face of widespread abolition of the death penalty around the world, provisions for capital punishment that had long fallen under the purview of the states were challenged in federal courts. The U.S. Supreme Court intervened in two landmark decisions, first by constitutionally invalidating the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia (1972) on the grounds that it was capricious and discriminatory, followed four years later by restoring it in Gregg v. Georgia (1976). Since then, by neither retaining capital punishment in unfettered form nor abolishing it outright, the Supreme Court has created a complex regulatory apparatus that has brought executions in many states to a halt, while also failing to address the problems that led the Court to intervene in the first place.

While execution chambers remain active in several states, constitutional regulation has contributed to the death penalty’s new fragility. In the next decade or two, Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker argue, the fate of the American death penalty is likely to be sealed by this failed judicial experiment. Courting Death illuminates both the promise and pitfalls of constitutional regulation of contentious social issues.

Praise

"Courting Death charts precisely the past and present of what has sadly become a uniquely American dilemma and, most importantly, sets out the doctrinal road map that will likely guide Supreme Court Justices in the future. Written by the most respected capital punishment scholars of the day, it is essential reading." —Michael Meltsner, author of Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment

"[The Steikers] provide a clear and comprehensive look at the 40-year modern history of capital punishment in the United States since its reinstatement in 1976 . . . Courting Death provides an excellent survey of the history of capital punishment and the prospects of abolition . . . The Steikers explain technical legal issues with such clarity that their book is highly accessible to lawyer and layperson alike." —Stephen Rohde, The Los Angeles Review of Books

"Carol and Jordan Steiker . . . are the leading contemporary scholars of the death penalty. In Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment they have brilliantly defined—in language accessible to the general reader—the massive dysfunction of the current system and the course that a future Supreme Court could take to do away with it." —Michael Meltsner, The Huffington Post

Carol S. Steiker
Carol S. Steiker

Carol S. Steiker

Carol S. Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School. She specializes in the broad field of criminal justice, where her work ranges from substantive criminal law to criminal procedure to institutional design, with a special focus on issues related to capital punishment. Professor Steiker is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as president of the Harvard Law Review, the second woman to hold that position in its then 99-year history. After clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, she worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she represented indigent defendants at all stages of the criminal process. In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Steiker has worked on pro bono litigation projects on behalf of indigent criminal defendants, including death penalty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. She also has served as a consultant and expert witness on issues of criminal justice for non-profit organizations.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.

FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

Event Series: Friday Forum

Harvard Book Store's Friday Forum series takes place on Friday afternoons during the academic year as a way to highlight scholarly books in a wide range of fields, with a particular focus on local scholars. Friday Forums take place at 3pm in Harvard Book Store.

Event Series: Ethics in Your World

The “Ethics in Your World” series, presented with Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, features leading thinkers taking on tough problems that matter to us all. Learn more about the Safra Center at ethics.harvard.edu.

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

Media Inquiries
(617) 661-1424 x6
mediainquiries@harvard.com

Accessibility Inquiries
access@harvard.com

Subscribe

Author event updates +
book recommendations.
In your inbox, once a week.

Learn More »

Shipping & Delivery

Shipping rates
and options, locally
and throughout
the U.S.

Learn More »

Signed First Edition Club

A unique way for readers to create a wealth of great books—Get a membership for yourself or for a gift!

Learn More »