Justices uphold use of controversial lethal injection drug

06/29/2015 // JusticeNewsFlash // (press release)

Washington – The Supreme Court has ruled that the use of the controversial sedative midazolam can continue in executions. The justices voted 5-4 in their ruling on a case that stems from concerns over the length of time the administration of lethal injections took with the use of the drug and its failed performance, the Associated Press has reported.

The drug was used in multiple states in executions in 2014. Justice Samuel Alito said for the conservative majority that the assertion that the drug was not effective in executions were only speculation, and dismissed reported issues raised from executions in Oklahoma and Arizona.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in dissent, “Under the court's new rule, it would not matter whether the state intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake.”

Two of the justices also expressed their view that the death penalty in itself is likely unconstitutional.

Justice Stephen Breyer said of the issue in a separate dissent, “I believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment.”

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