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View Full Version : SCOTUS green-light's lethal injections


alnorth
04-18-2008, 11:38 AM
http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/lethal-injection-allowed/

In a widely splintered decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for death-row executions to resume across the country, concluding that the most common method of lethal injection does not violate the Constitution. The final vote was 7-2 in Baze v. Rees (07-5439), although there was no opinion that spoke for five or more Justices. The Court’s plurality adopted as a standard for assessing the validity of an execution method whether it poses a “substantial risk of serious harm.” It rejected the death row inmate’s proposal that the standard be “unnecessary risk.”

Any time you have a concurring opinion written by Justice Thomas and joined only by Scalia, you know that you are in for some quality entertainment.

So, basically they agreed that lethal injections which are substantially similar to the method used in Kentucky (basically all of them) are constitutional, but no more than 4 justices could agree on exactly why they are constitutional.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the generic plurality opinion that basically said that it is not good enough to claim that a method of execution might be painful. Noting that death itself always carries some risk of pain, the supreme court ruled that you must prove that there is a substantial risk of serious harm (pain). A method is basically only unconstitutional if there is an alternative which is proven to substantially reduce the risk of pain. Showing that there is a "slightly or marginally safe alternative" is not good enough.

There were only two dissents which basically argued that showing there was a theoretical risk of pain was good enough to call it unconstitutional (which would probably make any method at all illegal)

Another justice (Stevens) basically said he believed the death penalty itself is unconstitutional, but if you are going to assume that it is constitutional, then this method is ok.

Then we get to the fun one: the concurring opinion from Justice Thomas. He basically said that the courts are not qualified to be dragged into a medical analysis of the amount of pain in executions between one method and another. He argued that as long as a method isnt specifically designed to cause pain, then it is ok. Only Scalia was willing to join that one. Under the breathtakingly extreme position of Justice Thomas, we may outlaw medieval torture devices which lead to death like the iron maiden, and those James Bond death machines where you are slowly led by conveyor belt to a buzzsaw might be bad. Anything else is fine and dandy under this minority opinion, including firing squads, hanging, and the guillotine because they werent really specifically designed for pain.

Bowser
04-18-2008, 11:40 AM
Bullets are cheaper, and I bet they don't feel much pain, especially if it's a Desert Eagle point five oh right against the temple.

Adept Havelock
04-18-2008, 11:45 AM
Bullets are cheaper, and I bet they don't feel much pain, especially if it's a Desert Eagle point five oh right against the temple.

Maybe we can take a cue from the Chinese and charge the family for the executioners bullet.

Bowser
04-18-2008, 11:47 AM
Maybe we can take a cue from the Chinese and charge the family for the executioners bullet.

Well, if gas keeps going up....

patteeu
04-18-2008, 01:56 PM
Then we get to the fun one: the concurring opinion from Justice Thomas. He basically said that the courts are not qualified to be dragged into a medical analysis of the amount of pain in executions between one method and another. He argued that as long as a method isnt specifically designed to cause pain, then it is ok. Only Scalia was willing to join that one. Under the breathtakingly extreme position of Justice Thomas, we may outlaw medieval torture devices which lead to death like the iron maiden, and those James Bond death machines where you are slowly led by conveyor belt to a buzzsaw might be bad. Anything else is fine and dandy under this minority opinion, including firing squads, hanging, and the guillotine because they werent really specifically designed for pain.

What's wrong with that? Seriously.

I understand that many people are against the death penalty to begin with, but are there really a lot of pro-death-penalty folks out there who would have problems with "firing squads, hanging, and the guillotine" on cruel and inhuman grounds? I know I wouldn't.

HonestChieffan
04-18-2008, 01:57 PM
Just move the dates forward and get it over with.

Amnorix
04-18-2008, 02:00 PM
What's wrong with that? Seriously.

I understand that many people are against the death penalty to begin with, but are there really a lot of pro-death-penalty folks out there who would have problems with "firing squads, hanging, and the guillotine" on cruel and inhuman grounds? I know I wouldn't.


I'm a moderate death penalty supporter. Firing squads should be limited to things like treason and military justice, IMHO, as it's a rather unpleasant way to kill someone. Hanging and the guillotine are out for me, thanksallthesame.

Adept Havelock
04-18-2008, 02:01 PM
What's wrong with that? Seriously.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

When you wouldn't use a technique to put an animal down, I think it's disgusting to use that technique on a human. JMO.

edit- I'm inclined to agree with Amnorix regarding firing squads.

Brock
04-18-2008, 02:03 PM
That cattle stunner looks like it would be pretty humane.

Bowser
04-18-2008, 02:23 PM
That cattle stunner looks like it would be pretty humane.

Heh.

Donger
04-18-2008, 02:24 PM
SCOTUS green-light's lethal injections

Excellent! I can start working on my "list."

StcChief
04-18-2008, 02:28 PM
amazing what can be done with right people on SCOTUS.
reverse 40 years of lib BS.

mlyonsd
04-18-2008, 02:43 PM
Great news. Start lining'em up.

jettio
04-18-2008, 03:28 PM
amazing what can be done with right people on SCOTUS.
reverse 40 years of lib BS.



Examples?