Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is having a memorable start to his career as one of America’s top judges.
Late Thursday night, Gorsuch cast the deciding vote for Arkansas to begin executing a group of 8 death-row inmates, upsetting liberals all across social media and sparking debate with regards to the death penalty.
In a series of orders Thursday night, the high court cleared the state to execute Ledell Lee, one of eight convicted murderers that Arkansas has been trying to put to death before one of its lethal-injection drugs expires at the end of the month. Associated Press later reported the execution had been carried out.
“Apparently the reason the state decided to proceed with these eight executions is that the ‘use by’ date of the state’s execution drug is about to expire,” Breyer wrote. “That factor, when considered as a determining factor separating those who live from those who die, is close to random.”
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan also voted to block the executions.
Shortly after the 5-4 decision, the Associated Press confirmed that the execution of Ledell Lee had been carried out and he was pronounced dead at 11:56pm. The execution was the state’s first in 12 years.
Lee was the first person in a group of what had been eight men Arkansas originally planned to execute in 11 days, the most of any state in as short a period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
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