Supreme Court Lifts Stay in Landrigan Exeuction
The Supreme Court tonight vacated the stay of execution an Arizona federal judge issued yesterday in the case of Jeffrey Landrigan. Landrigan was scheduled to be executed this morning using sodium thiopental that was manufactured by a company outside the U.S. which was not an FDA approved manufacturer of the drug.
Arizona appealed to the 9th Circuit, did not prevail, and the matter was referred to the full court later today. Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Bryer would have denied the state's request and kept the stay in place.
Arizona authorities are preparing the execution chamber now, so they can kill him within the 34 hour period set by the death warrant.
Here's what the order says (received by email, no link): [More...]
The application to vacate the order by the district court granting a temporary restraining order, presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court, is granted. There is no evidence in the record to suggest that the drug obtained from a foreign source is unsafe. The district court granted the restraining order because it was left to speculate as to the risk of harm. See Order Granting Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order in Landrigan v. Brewer, No. CV–10–02246–PHX–ROS (D Ariz.), Doc. 21, p. 15 (“[T]he Court is left to speculate. . .whether the non-FDA approved drug will cause pain and suffering.”). But speculation cannot substitute for evidence that the use of the drug is “‘sure or very likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering.’” Baze v. Rees, 553 U. S. 35, 50 (2008) (quoting Helling v. McKinney, 509 U. S. 25, 33 (1993)).
There was no showing that the drug was unlawfully obtained, nor was there an offer of proof to that effect. The motion to file documents under seal is denied as moot.
Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan would deny the application to vacate the order granting a temporary restraining order.
How disappointing. It's also a reminder of how disastrous it is to have Republicans in a position of authority when it comes to appointing and confirming Supreme Court Justices.
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