[Guest post by DRJ]
In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Kentucky’s use of lethal injections:
“We … agree that petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol, and the failure to adopt untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel and unusual punishment,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in an opinion that garnered only three votes. Four other justices, however, agreed with the outcome.
Roberts’ opinion did leave open subsequent challenges to lethal injection practices if a state refused to adopt an alternative method that significantly reduced the risk of severe pain.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented.”
The Baze opinion is here. Here are the votes/positions:
“ROBERTS, C. J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which KENNEDY and ALITO, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed a concurring opinion. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which THOMAS, J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which SCALIA, J., joined. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOUTER, J., joined.”
UPDATE – As always, don’t miss Beldar’s analysis. Here’s a taste:
“But a mostly well-functioning method of execution — as an instrument of public justice in those states that have chosen the death penalty — ought not be halted because it’s short of perfect, or because there are arguably better methods and protocols “out there” yet to be discovered, defined, and implemented.”
In addition, don’t miss the part where Beldar explains the relevance of eyelash-tickling.