The Supreme Court is Struggling to Conceal a Heated Rift Over the Death Penalty

Caustic disagreements over capital punishment, increasingly a theme of the current term, were on full display at the Supreme Court Monday.

by Kevin Daley

Pointed divisions within the Supreme Court over capital punishment reemerged Monday, as the justices issued new opinions rehashing recent last-minute death penalty appeals.

The Court has barely concealed its sharp internal disagreement over late-arriving death penalty cases in recent months.

One such dispute arose in Alabama, where inmate Christopher Lee Price asked to be put to death with nitrogen hypoxia, as opposed to a lethal injection protocol. Price asked the high court to stop his execution on April 11. The Court denied Price’s application, over a seething dissent from Justice Stephen Breyer.

Thomas wrote a separate opinion to “set the record straight” Monday, hitting notes frequently sounded by the conservative justices in recent death penalty cases.

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