Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to new federal death penalty procedure

The Supreme Court will not consider a challenge to new federal death penalty protocols proposed by the Justice Department, clearing the way for the government to resume executions as early as July for the first time since 2003.

The court, without comment, declined Monday to take up the lawsuit filed by four death row inmates. As is customary, it gave no reason.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated they would have accepted the case.

“Even as people across the country are demanding that leaders rethink crime, punishment, and justice, the government is barreling ahead with its plans to carry out the first federal executions in 17 years,” Ruth Friedman, a lawyer for one of the inmates, Daniel Lee, said in a statement after the court declined to take up the case. “Given the unfairness built into the federal death penalty system and the many unanswered questions about both the cases of the men scheduled to die and the government’s new execution protocol, there must be appropriate court review before the government can proceed with any execution.”

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