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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Lethal Injection

Today, the US Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on whether or not the current protocols of lethal injection are in violation of the 8th amendment of the Constitution which bans cruel and unusual punishment. The Justices are not being asked to rule on the constitutionality of the death penalty which was determined constitutional three decades ago. A wave of cases revolving around lethal injection across the United States in lower courts has piqued the attention of the highest court in the land. One of the key rulings was here in Tennessee in which Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that the current lethal injection protocols were unconstitutional. However, it was a case in Kentucky, Baez v. Rees, that made its way to Washington D.C. Supporters of the Kentucky petitioners stated that the current method poses an “unnecessary risk of pain and suffering.”

The Knoxville Sentinel has an AP article covering the case and also includes a poll asking readers if they believe in capital punishment. Read the article HERE. If you could take one second and visit the above link and vote NO, you can make your voice heard. The article highlights one of the most confusing aspects of this case and the challenges being posed to capital punishment.

“But when the justices return from their holiday break and hear arguments today in a lethal injection case from Kentucky, their questions are unlikely to focus on whether capital punishment or even the method of lethal injection is right or wrong.

The two death row inmates whose challenge is before the court are not asking to be spared execution or death by injection. Their argument, at its most basic, is that there are ways to get the job done relatively pain-free.”

The last blog post by Stacy highlighted the confusion that many have, including our own state’s legislators. Lethal injection is still a viable method for execution–once the protocols are again deemed constitutional. I believe the hope of the US Supreme Court is to ensure that lethal injection is in fact lethal. I don’t think that is much to ask for as a civilized Western nation in the year 2008.

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