Is it too much to hope that the current Supreme Court would outlaw lethal injection?

As the NYT observes, it’s unfortunately unlikely that they’ll outlaw the death penalty altogether, though it would be a very good thing if they did.

(You will note from this map that most of the world–and, except for the U.S., certainly what’s commonly called the “First World”–has gotten rid of routine death penalty sentences.)

Still, I can hope that a nice wrench would be thrown into America’s capital punishment business as usual.

The Supreme Court agreed today to hear constitutional challenges brought by two death-row inmates in Kentucky, who assert that the state’s lethal-injection procedures amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

The step could have the effect of postponing executions across the country scheduled to be performed by lethal injection, the method is used by nearly all states with a death penalty, as well as by the federal government.

The court took the cases of the inmates, Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr. , whose lawyers have presented evidence that the three chemicals used for lethal injections in Kentucky could produce excruciating pain.

Full Story.

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