Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Justice Kavanaugh may be swing vote in death penalty case

Conservative new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined liberal colleagues in raising concerns about Missouri’s plan to use lethal injection to execute a murderer with a rare medical condition, reported Reuters.
Lawyers for Russell Bucklew, 50, have argued that because of a congenital condition called cavernous hemangioma that leaves him with blood-filled tumours on his body, the lethal injection could cause undue agony in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
Based on the one-hour oral argument, it is not clear how the court will rule in Bucklew’s case but Kavanaugh’s comments in his first death penalty-related oral argument since joining the court last month suggest he could potentially break with fellow conservatives.
If he joins the court’s four liberals, the court could issue a narrow decision sending the case back to lower courts to determine whether the state can accommodate Bucklew’s medical issues.
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