The Supreme Court announced it would consider whether to reverse a previous decision staying the death sentence of Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Monday.
The report comes as a challenge to President Joe Biden’s political platform. He ran on a commitment to end the death penalty during his 2020 campaign.
“Over 160 individuals who’ve been sentenced to death in this country since 1973 have later been exonerated,” Biden’s presidential campaign justice reform plan stated. “Because we cannot ensure we get death penalty cases right every time, Biden will work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government’s example.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday she had no updates on Biden’s death penalty policy at this point. She declined comments regarding Tsarnaev’s case.
Psaki did note Biden “has grave concerns about whether capital punishment as currently implemented is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness,” and “has also expressed his horror at the events of that day and Tsarnaev’s actions.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 charges involved in the 2013 Boston Marathon. 17 charges included the possibility of a death sentence.
Tsarnaev has admitted involvement in the attack, but argued his older brother was the main leader of the criminal activities. His brother died during their escape when a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed.
His death sentence was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, arguing the judge presiding over his case did not adequately ensure an unbiased jury. Former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department appealed the decision.
The case will serve as the first real test to Biden’s support against the death penalty. Many are asking whether the president will serve as a strong force against terrorism, pitting his weaker views against the strong stands Trump took against similar threats.