Here We Go Again: Is The Death Penalty Unconstitutional?

Yesterday, Christine wrote about the Supreme Court’s five-to-four decision in Glossip v. Gross that approved the use of the three-drug cocktail administered during executions by lethal injection. Specifically, whether the sedative midazolam would render inmates who were sentenced to death subject to excruciating pain upon execution. It revisited the standard established in the 2008 Baze v. Rees, which upheld the three-shot cocktail protocol used in lethal injections was constitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Here’s the formal list of questions in Glossip, according to SCOTUSblog:

(1) Whether it is constitutionally permissible for a state to carry out an execution using a three-drug protocol where (a) there is a well-established scientific consensus that the first drug has no pain relieving properties and cannot reliably produce deep, coma-like unconsciousness, and (b) it is undisputed that there is a substantial, constitutionally unacceptable risk of pain and suffering from the administration of the second and third drugs when a prisoner is conscious; (2) whether the plurality stay standard of Baze v. Rees applies when states are not using a protocol substantially similar to the one that this Court considered in Baze; and (3) whether a prisoner must establish the availability of an alternative drug formula even if the state’s lethal-injection protocol, as properly administered, will violate the Eighth Amendment.