[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After a tough week, conservatives were offered a victory from the Supreme Court on Monday as the court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing the continuation of lethal injection as a means of execution. Prisoners had challenged the use of drugs used to sedate the condemned prior to the stopping of their heart and the pending case has prompted several states to halt executions.[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”5517620b381df”][vc_column_text]The justices found that those seeking to stop lethal injections had not proven that the drugs are ineffective at masking the pain of death.
The final day of the court’s term appeared rife with tension as four justices spoke from the bench- two spoke for the majority and two spoke for the dissent.
Justice Alito authored the majority and found that the Oklahoma prisoners failed to identify a “known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain”- a requirement by the court’s previous ruling which upheld lethal injection as constitutional.
Further, Alito wrote that the plaintiffs had failed to establish that a dose of midazolam, the sedating agent, “entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”
Justice Sotomayor blasted the majority in her dissent, claiming, “The court’s conclusion that petitioners’ challenge also fails because they identified no available alternative means by which the state may kill them is legally indefensible.”
Taking aim at the institution of capital punishment as a whole, Justice Breyer offered in his dissent, “I believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment. At the very least, the court should call for full briefing on the basic question.”
In a snarky rebuttal, clearly-irritated conservative justice Antonin Scalia quipped that five justices had, last week, sought to steal the issue of the definition of marriage away from the democratic process and that some on the court were now looking to do similarly with the death penalty.
Taking aim at Sotomayor and Breyer who cast doubt on the legality of capital punishment as a whole, Scalia sarcastically noted from the bench,
“Maybe we should celebrate that two justices are willing to kill the death penalty outright instead of pecking it to death.”
Criminal sentencing expert Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, noted that the division on the court suggests that the death penalty is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
“Seven current justices apparently do not question the death penalty’s essential constitutionality, including the five youngest justices,” Berman stated. That “suggests to me that abolitionists still have a lot more work to do.”
The death penalty in America, like illegal immigration and voting, has been needlessly complicated by saboteurs who pretend that this is simply an unsolvable problem when, in reality, it’s actually quite simple.
Since the days of Hammurabi’s Code, the death penalty has persisted and been able to effectively deter crime. In the last half-century, American jurisprudence has been bogged-down with ceaseless maneuvering and feet-dragging and as a result, the death penalty is inarguably less-effective than it once was when timely executions occurred and instilled in the public’s mindset a sense of cause and effect for committing heinous crimes.
Though the court has erred in recent days by inventing laws instead of appropriately interpreting them, the highest court in the land offered a much-needed win for conservatives who value law and order.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]