Given that law has an integral commitment to life, in this lecture I want to show how the law should manifest something of a fundamental dissonance, even a terminal incoherence, when law is called upon to deal death. That is what happens in the judicial discourse on the death penalty in the United States. I will approach this demonstration in a way that may at first seem paradoxical, in a way that will bring out the deep affinity between law and death. That affinity is one in which death is, in a sense, the limit of law; a limit that constitutes law. Law cannot, then, go beyond its own constituent limit.
Life, Death and the Law - And Why Capital Punishment Is Legally Insupportable ,
47 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol47/iss4/4