Previewing the Supreme Court's New Session

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.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.