On July 14, 2020, the federal government executed Daniel Lewis Lee, ending a 17-year informal moratorium on the federal death penalty. Since then, in the last six months of the Trump Administration, the federal government executed 12 more prisoners, including Lisa Montgomery—the only woman on federal Death Row and the first female inmate to be executed by the federal government in 67 years. Federal Execution Updates, Death Penalty Information Center (last visited March 5, 2021).

This dark, macabre rush to execute inmates before President Biden’s inauguration was to a large degree overshadowed by the events of January 6 and the dispute about the election results. But in the ongoing renewed introspection in America about racial justice and the criminal justice system, we should put banning the federal death penalty at the top of the list of criminal justice reforms.

The Federal and State Death Penalty Dichotomy