Court Skeptical of Challenge to Lethal Injection

Justices cite low chance of painful death, lack of better option
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 2:49 PM CST
Attorney Donald Verrilli, who argued against the use of a three drug cocktail used to execute inmates, gestures as he talks to media outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Jan. 7, 2008, after...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As the Supreme Court opened its hearing on lethal injection today, justices expressed serious doubts that the method amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, the LA Times reports. Most of the panel, including Chief Justice John Roberts, seemed unconvinced that the three-chemical cocktail results in a painful death, or that a better option exists. A national moratorium is in place while the high court weighs the issue.

Lawyers for a death row inmate in Kentucky contend that the injection can cause searing pain when improperly administered, which is why it's "illegal in Kentucky to euthanize animals this way." The Constitution includes “no painless requirement,” Justice Antonin Scalia said, and he warned that ruling against lethal injection would foster endless litigation amounting to “a national cessation of executions.”