NPR logo

Previewing the Supreme Court's New Session

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14841098/14841057" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Previewing the Supreme Court's New Session

Law

Previewing the Supreme Court's New Session

Previewing the Supreme Court's New Session

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14841098/14841057" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Supreme Court returns to session on Monday. Among the cases on the docket: a test of the constitutionality of executions by lethal injection.

The question at hand involves the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections in Kentucky, though a similar protocol is used in executions in more than 30 states. The justices must first decide how likely it is that the drug cocktail will cause the condemned inmate severe pain prior to death. Justices must then decide how great the risk of this kind of cruelty must be before the court rules that these types of executions are cruel and unusual.

The court's return coincides with the publication of Justice Clarence Thomas' new memoir. Legal affairs commentator Mimi Wesson offers an overview of the court's docket.