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Carrying out over two hundred executions in the last twenty years, Texas has dramatically demonstrated that the Bill of Rights-particularly, the most fundamental right, the right to counsel-cannot be left in the hands of partisan elected judges. The Texas judiciary has responded to the clamor for executions by processing capital cases in assembly-line fashion with little or no regard for the fairness and integrity of the process. In doing so, it has shown the need for full habeas corpus review by independent, life-tenured federal judges. However, the once "Great Writ" of habeas corpus barely survives the restrictions put on it by the Supreme Court and Congress. As a result, those most in need of the protection of the Constitution-the "helpless, weak, outnumbered . . . victims of prejudice and public excitement" -often do not receive it, even in cases where their lives are at stake.
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