Supreme Court Affirms Kentucky's Lethal Injection Protocol
The good news is that every member of the Supreme Court agrees that disemboweling, beheading, drawing and quartering, dissecting, and burning alive all violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The bad news is that seven justices in a maze of opinions (the lead opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, is joined only by Justices Kennedy and Alito) agree that Kentucky's lethal injection protocol is not cruel and unusual, at least on the record that was made in the Kentucky case.
The decision and the multiple opinions it generated may or may not end the de facto moratorium on death penalty implementation, but it will only fuel the growing debate about the wisdom of death as punishment for a crime. Consider, for instance, the concluding remarks in Justice Breyer's opinion concurring in the result:
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