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At the Edges of the Death Penalty

The Supreme Court rules lethal injection is constitutional; now, they're deciding if capital punishment is limited to cases of murder.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) today tackled one case on the death penalty and is on to the next.

The biggest news from SCOTUS was the 7 ? 2 ruling that Kentucky's method of lethal injection was a constitutional form of capital punishment and not cruel and unusual.

"The case before the court came from Kentucky, where two death row inmates wanted the court to order a switch to a single drug, a barbiturate, that causes no pain and can be given in a large enough dose to cause death," NPR reports.

In executions by lethal injection, a team of doctors administers a barbituate to numb, a paralytic, and then sodium chloride, which causes cardiac arrest, through an IV. One of the main objections to lethal injection is that any of the drugs is ineffectively administered, the execution would be painful, undignified, or drawn-out.

That risk, however, isn't enough to make the method illegal, said Chief Justice John Roberts.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines say use of the method to ...

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