And they matter way beyond the abortion issue; conservative justices influence all sorts of social justice concerns, including the very basic right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld Kentucky’s method of execution by lethal injection, rejecting the claim that officials there administered a common sequence of three drugs in a manner that posed an unconstitutional risk that a condemned inmate would suffer acute yet undetectable pain.
While the 7-to-2 ruling did not shut the door on challenges to the lethal injection protocols in other states, it set a standard that will not be easy to meet. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in the court’s controlling opinion that challengers must show not only that a state’s method “creates a demonstrated risk of severe pain,” but also that there were alternatives that were “feasible” and “readily implemented” that would “significantly” reduce that risk.
“A slightly or marginally safer alternative” would not suffice, the chief justice said. He added: “Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of ‘objectively intolerable risk of harm’ that qualifies as cruel and unusual” under the Eighth Amendment.
What the hell kind of country are we living in when we not only allow the state the right to execute criminals — something done in only a handful of other states with abhorrent human rights recorders, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen — but when we can’t even be bothered to make sure that our methods of execution are as humane as possible? Who are we when our standard for killing our own citizens is that the way we kill them simply cannot pose an “objectively intolerable risk of harm”?
This is sick and shameful.
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