Supreme Court Justices Feuding Openly over Death Penalty


Deborah Denno was quoted in CNN about lethal injection as a form of capital punishment. The United States Supreme Court cited professor Denno’s 2007 Fordham Law Review article and her 2014 Georgetown Law Journal article on lethal injection.

A controversial execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama appears to have set off a rare public debate between Supreme Court justices over how the death penalty is enforced.

Despite Chief Justice John Roberts’ oft-stated goal of keeping the Supreme Court above the kinds of conflicts that have crippled the political branches of government, there are times when internal debates between the justices — and even some sniping — will seep out.
The justices are still bitterly divided over the execution of Domineque Ray, who claimed his religious rights were violated because he could not have an imam with him in the execution chamber, in February — so much so that they continued to litigate the case in an unrelated opinion issued on Monday.

Death penalty experts say that the court’s friction often arises in cases concerning lethal injection protocols and last minute stay requests. “As such, we start seeing these conflicts among the justices play out in unusual places and in unusual ways,” said Fordham law professor Deborah Denno.

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