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Divided U.S. Supreme Court upholds Oklahoma lethal injection process

Divided U.S. Supreme Court upholds Oklahoma lethal injection process

A news assistant runs to his co-workers with copies of court decisions past anti-death penalty demonstrators in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday found that a lethal injection drug used by Oklahoma does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, a ruling that provoked a caustic debate among the justices about the death penalty in America. The 5-4 ruling, with the court’s five conservatives in the majority, prompted liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to say for the first time they believe capital punishment as currently practiced may be unconstitutional. The decision was a defeat for death penalty foes and for the three death row inmates who challenged the use of a sedative called midazolam as part of Oklahoma’s lethal injection process, saying it cannot achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery, making it unsuitable for executions.

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