The latest death penalty case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court was not about if a death-row prisoner should be executed, but how.
And the newest member of the court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, could be the deciding vote on the outcome.
The Nov. 6 oral arguments considered if an alternative execution method could be used on Russell Bucklew, convicted of a 1996 murder.
Bucklew, an inmate on Missouri’s death row, suffers from a rare medical condition that could cause him to have severe pain if he is executed by lethal injection, which his lawyers argue would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In brief, the inmate has a tumor in his throat that is likely to burst during the lethal injection procedure, causing him to choke on his own blood.