Democratic US Senator Russell Feingold on Thursday introduced legislation to put an immediate halt to federal executions and abolish the death penalty for violations of federal law.
"It is truly unfortunate that we are in a shrinking minority of countries that continue to allow state-sponsored executions," he said, noting that capital punishment has been banned in 123 countries around the world.
In 2007, only China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan executed more people than the United States, according to a statement from his office.
"I oppose the death penalty because it is inconsistent with basic American principles of justice, liberty and equality," said the Wisconsin senator, whose legislation would not affect individual states.
Feingold introduced the measure one day after New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson made his state the 15th in the nation to outlaw capital punishment when he signed a law abolishing the death penalty.
Capital punishment, which the US Supreme Court reinstated in 1976, enjoys the support of about some two-thirds of the American public.
Comment: Thank goodness we have Senator Feingold to represent the norms and ideals of the internationalists.