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Critics: Supreme Court Hasty With Wee-Hours Death Penalty Ruling

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Mark Tenally (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 July 2020 12:37 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court justices who dissented against the decision to allow federal executions to resume after more than 15 years have criticized the late-night move as rushed and hasty, Newsweek reports.

The Court issued an unsigned opinion in the early morning on Tuesday that said to lift a preliminary injunction set by a district court, and allow federal executions, which have not taken place since 2003. Although the district court barred executions as being against the Eighth Amendment, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court opinion claimed that "the plaintiffs have not established that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their Eighth Amendment claim.”

Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote in a dissenting opinion: "The Court hastily disposes of respondents' Eighth Amendment challenge to the use of pentobarbital in the Federal Government's single-drug execution protocol. In doing so, the Court accepts the Government's artificial claim of urgency to truncate ordinary procedures of judicial review. This sets a dangerous precedent.”

They add, "The Government is poised to carry out the first federal executions in nearly two decades. Yet because of the Court's rush to dispose of this litigation in an emergency posture, there will be no meaningful judicial review of the grave, fact-heavy challenges respondents bring to the way in which the Government plans to execute them."

Breyer notes that "the resumption of federal executions promises to provide examples that illustrate the difficulties of administering the death penalty consistent with the Constitution,” and that “the solution may be for this Court to directly examine the question whether the death penalty violates the Constitution.”

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The U.S. Supreme Court justices who dissented against the decision to allow federal executions to resume after more than 15 years have criticized the late-night move as rushed and hasty, Newsweek reports.
supreme court, death penalty, decision, dissent
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2020-37-14
Tuesday, 14 July 2020 12:37 PM
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