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.”