Obama: The death penalty is 'deeply troubling'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Obama: Death Penalty 'Deeply Troubling'

President Barack Obama confirmed speculation that he may be close to opposing the death penalty in federal cases.

In an interview with The Marshall Project editor Bill Keller published Friday, Obama said that he found the death penalty "deeply troubling," citing the lopsided racial disparity of death penalty cases as well as several recent botched executions.

SEE MORE: Mitt Romney made a surprising comment about Obamacare

"There are certain crimes that are so beyond the pale that I understand society's need to express its outrage," Obama said. "So I have not traditionally been opposed to the death penalty in theory. But in practice it's deeply troubling."

He added, "All of this, I think, has led me to express some very significant reservations."

Obama told Keller that he is withholding action for now, and will wait until the results of a Department of Justice review of the death penalty is released before deciding if the administration will act to curb the use of capital punishment.

As the number of Americans who oppose the death penalty increases, many experts predict that it will face a more forceful challenge in the courts as well. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said that he would not be surprised if his court eventually rules that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

The president's comments come as the Obama administration continues to push for broader criminal-justice reform.

Click through to see President Obama's portraits through the years:

8 PHOTOS
Barack Obama portraits through the years
See Gallery
Obama: The death penalty is 'deeply troubling'

2009

In this photo provided by the Obama Transition Office, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama poses for an official portrait on January 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Pete Souza/Obama Transition Office via Getty Images)

2010

US President Barack Obama speaks in the Grand Foyer following a meeting with senior intelligence officials and cabinet members January 5, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

2011

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2011 on tax credits included in the American Jobs Act and new executive actions that will help get veterans back to work.

(Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

2012

In this handout from the White House, official portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on December 6, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

2013

US President Barack Obama announces his nominee for the Federal Housing Finance Authority, North Carolina Democrat Representative Mel Watt, and his nominee for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), venture capitalist Tom Wheeler, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 1, 2013.

(Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

2014

U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception for Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland and his wife Fionnuala O'Kelly in the East Room of the White House March 14, 2014 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

2015

US President Barack Obama speaks at an event marking the 5th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in Washington, DC, March 25, 2015.

(Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The White House, along with members of Congress from both parties, views criminal-justice reform as a rare space where compromises over issues such as prison overcrowding and mass incarceration can be reached.

Earlier this week, a bipartisan criminal-justice reform bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, clearing a key hurdle that could help bring a final bill closer to passage. The legislation addresses mandatory minimum sentences, allowing some prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes to have their cases reexamined in certain circumstances.

NOW WATCH: 'Celebrity Apprentice' runner-up reveals what Donald Trump is really like

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Obama to have attorney general look into botched execution in Oklahoma

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners