72 Am. U. L. Rev. 2137 (2023).

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The nondelegation doctrine is a separation of powers principle that limits the legislative branch from delegating its legislative authority to another branch of government. Although this doctrine is more widely known for its federal use, preventing Congress from relinquishing too much of its law-making authority to administrative agencies, most states have adopted similar nondelegation principles. Mississippi’s nondelegation doctrine requires that the legislature enact laws that prescribe the basic policy decision, provide adequate boundaries for agency guidance, and do not vest an agency with arbitrary discretion.

On July 1, 2022, Mississippi enacted a new execution statute, permitting the Department of Corrections to select (1) an inmate’s method of execution and, in the case of a lethal injection execution, (2) the types and dosages of substances. This Comment explores how Mississippi has analyzed the constitutionality of state laws under nondelegation principles and how other state courts have ruled on the constitutionality of the state execution statute under their nondelegation standards. This Comment argues that Mississippi’s execution statute violates the state constitution as an improper delegation of legislative authority. This Comment further argues that, even if the Mississippi law permits a broad delegation of authority, delegation in the context of the death penalty should be treated differently because “death is different.”

* Senior Staff Member, American University Law Review, Volume 73. J.D. Candidate, May 2024, American University Washington College of Law; B.S., Psychology, B.A., Criminology, 2021, University of Florida. Thank you to the entire AULR staff, especially my Note & Comment Editor, Erin Hoff, for her dedication and hard work on this piece. I would also like to thank Ali Ruvolis for always listening and providing motivation when I needed it most. Finally, I am forever grateful for the unwavering support from my family, who have supported me every step of the way.

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