August 09, 2021

Rep. Bush Leads House Colleagues in Urging Department of Justice to Stop Seeking Death Penalty

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), along with Reps. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) sent a letter  to Department of Justice Attorney General Judge Merrick B. Garland urging him to halt all federal participation in the capital punishment system and prohibit Department attorneys from seeking the death penalty.

“We must work to build a criminal-legal system that is deeply rooted in a love for humanity, which begins with ending the federal death penalty in our country,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “The death penalty is an inhumane punishment that disproportionately violates the human rights of Black, brown, indigenous, and other marginalized people. I’m proud to join my colleagues Reps. Espaillat and Pressley in continuing to urge this administration to end the death penalty.”

In the letter, the members stated, "Capital punishment is a deeply flawed and inhumane practice that the Department of Justice can and must discontinue. Its known deficiencies, “including arbitrariness in its application, disparate impact on people of color, and the troubling number of exonerations in capital and other serious cases,” are thoroughly documented. Despite these realities, the death penalty continues to be imposed in an arbitrary and capricious manner […] While the United States Congress considers legislation to abolish the death penalty, which has an unprecedented and growing level of support, the Department of Justice still has a moral obligation to take immediate, decisive action. The Biden-Harris Administration was elected on the promise of abolishing the federal death penalty, and we are committed to using every legislative tool to help fulfill it.”

In January, Congresswoman Bush led 35 of her House colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging him to immediately commute the sentences of everyone on federal death row.


Congresswoman Cori Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is also a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a registered nurse, single mother, and an ordained pastor. Following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, she became a civil rights activist and community organizer fighting for justice for Black lives on the streets of Missouri and across the country.