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Progressive congresswoman-elect Cori Bush wants Biden to grant clemency to all death row inmates

Bush is a Missouri Democrat and part of the incoming class of House members.

Updated: December 15, 2020 - 8:03am

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Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush, among the most progressive of incoming House members, wants Joe Biden to grant clemency to all remaining prisoners on death row. 

"Joe Biden cannot leave the lives of those on death row in the hands of future presidents," wrote Bush in a Time Magazine op-ed published Monday. 

The Missouri Democrat said she supports legislation introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., that would ban the death penalty as a response to federal law violations. Pressley is a member of the group of young progressive women in Congress known as the "Squad – which Bush has been tapped to join upon her swearing in. 

However, until the legislative branch acts, it is incumbent upon the executive branch to put an end to the practice of state-sanctioned killing, in Bush's view.

"If [Biden] truly opposed the death penalty, he must do everything in his power to stop it for good. Granting clemency to all on federal death row is his most effective tool," Bush wrote.

The Electoral College on Monday certified Biden as president, amid challenges by President Trump and his legal team over the results of the Nov. 3 presidential race.

Bush also wrote: "Ending the death penalty is about justice. It's about mercy. It's about putting a stop to this nation's dark history of lynching and slavery. It's about making it clear that our government should not have the power to end a life. We must build a fair criminal-legal system on a foundation of mercy, due process and equity. We must break the cycles of death, devastation and trauma that have broken Black and brown communities like mine," she continued.  

The Trump administration has executed nine death row inmates this year – most recently on Friday when a Louisiana truck driver who abused and then killed his 2-year-old daughter in 2002 was put to death.

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