The US Department of Justice has decided to resume the death penalty for inmates on federal death row for the first time in decades. The Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, four years after effectively striking it down. Many states quickly adopted laws restoring capital punishment, though the federal government did not do so until 1988 for a few offenses and 1994 for many more. The announcement reversed what had been essentially a moratorium on the federal death penalty since 2003. Five men convicted of brutally murdering children will be executed this coming December and January at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., and additional executions will be scheduled later.