US Supreme Court upholds use of drug implicated in botched executions

World Today

US Supreme CourtPeople enter the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial drug that has been implicated in several botched executions.

The justices on Monday voted 5-4 in a case from Oklahoma that the sedative midazolam (pronounced ih-DAZZ-oh-lam) can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

The drug was used in executions in Arizona, Ohio, and Oklahoma in 2014 that took longer than usual and raised concerns that it did not perform its intended task of putting inmates into a coma-like sleep.

The Supreme Court is meeting for the final time until the fall to decide three remaining cases and add some new ones for the term that starts in October. The two remaining cases after the announcement of the execution drug involve state efforts to reduce partisan influence in congressional redistricting, and costly Environmental Protection Agency limits on the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants.

Associated Press