Supremes Tackle Civility of Execution
Supreme Court takes up question of whether a death row inmate may use federal civil rights law to challenge a state's manner of execution
Because the Supremes accepted Hill's appeal on the question of whether inmates may use Reconstruction-era civil rights law to challenge the method of execution, the justices reportedly focused much of their questioning on whether Hill could suggest another, more humane execution method. (A separate appeal, filed in February by a death row inmate in Tennessee styled Abdur'Rahman v. Bredesen directly challenging lethal injection as unconstitutionally cruel is currently pending before the court.) The civil rights statute requires an alternative be shown without that, Chief Justice John G. Roberts noted, Hill's appeal would appear to be a challenge to his death sentence, a route that Hill has already exhausted. A decision in the case is expected this summer.
Supreme Court, death row, federal, civil rights, Death penalty, lethal injection, U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Hill, John G. Roberts, civil rights law, habeas corpus, Eighth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment, Abdur'Rahman, Lancet