Attorney General Eric Holder voiced support for a national moratorium on executions while the Supreme Court hears a legal challenge to the death penalty.
The Court will hear the case following several botched executions late last year and they could determine what the future of state executions. “From my perspective, I think a moratorium until the Supreme Court made that determination would be appropriate,” Holder said, according to The Hill.
He stressed when he spoke on the issue at a National Press Club event that he was speaking personally and not as a member of the president’s administration.
“I’ve not been shy in saying that I’m a person who is opposed to the use of the death penalty. Our system of justice is the best in the world. It is comprised of men and women who do the best they can, get it right more often than not, substantially more right than wrong. But there’s always the possibility that mistakes will be made,” he said. “It is one thing to put somebody in jail for an extended period of time, have some new test that you can do and determine that person was, in fact, innocent. There is no ability to correct a mistake where somebody has, in fact, been executed. And that is from my perspective the ultimate nightmare.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice Anton Scalia has said he doesn’t believe anyone has ever been executed in the U.S. who was innocent, but Holder disputed this.
“It’s inevitable,” he said.