Right now, the Supreme Court of the United States is considering several cases dealing with capital punishment and how the death penalty is to be carried out in this country.
It’s getting to the end of the 2015 Term for the High Court, which means that we may expect some opinions to come down before the Justices leave for their summer vacations.
The pending death penalty cases on the 2015 SCOTUS calendar include:
This is a case dealing with whether or not the means that the State of Louisiana has in place to determine whether or not the person is mentally disabled, and therefore protected by this Eighth Amendment bar, past constitutional muster.
Here, the sole question presented to the High Court for decision is whether or not Florida’s death sentencing scheme violates the Sixth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment in light of this Court’s decision in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U. S. 584 (2002).
The High Court is considering this case out of Oklahoma and while there are some that suggest this case may result in the entire lethal injection method of execution being held unconstitutional as cruel and unusual, there are others that see the case as being narrowly based, and dealing only with the issue of devation from Baze v. Rees, 553 U.S. 35 (2008) insofar as substituting the drug
midazolam as its three-drug lethal injection cocktail, a drug not approved by the FDA for use as general anesthesia and never used as the sole anesthetic for painful surgical procedures.
Of note, Texas got the green light to execute Robert Ladd this year and Georgia also went ahead with the execution of Warren Hill in 2015 after SCOTUS declined to grant writ in that case.
NOTE: There is in-depth discussion of the lethal injection method of execution which focuses in part upon the botched execution of Clayton Lockett by the State of Oklahoma that was published today in the Atlantic.
(Hat tip to Sydney Simon for sending Terry Lenamon advance notice of the cover story here.)
Entitled, "Cruel and Unusual:The botched execution of Clayton Lockett—and how capital punishment became so surreal," and written by Jeffrey E. Stern, it’s a good read for those following what’s happening up in Washington right now.