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February 1, 2006

Alito's first vote in death penalty case

As detailed in this somewhat confusing AP story, Justice Alito's first official task as a Supreme Court Justice involved a vote in the capital cases from Missouri being litigated today (some background here).  Because I cannot figure out exactly what's going on in the case from the AP report, I'll just quote its first few paragraphs:

New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito cast his first vote on Wednesday, as the court refused to give Missouri permission to immediately execute a man who killed a teenage honor student.  The court's 9-0 action was procedural, however, because a stay was already set to expire Wednesday afternoon.

Separately, the court acting without Alito rejected Michael Taylor's appeal that argued that Missouri's death penalty system is racist.  Taylor is black and his victim was white.

With luck, the gang over at SCOTUSblog will sort all this out for us soon.

UPDATEThis new AP article indicates that the 8th Circuit has now granted an en banc hearing for Taylor, though the grounds and claims remain murky.  My head hurts.

MORE:  As now detailed here by Lyle Denniston and here by the AP, the plot thickened for Alito and the rest of the Supreme Court in the Taylor case.  With a delicate bit of understatement, Lyle observes that, in considering challenges to lethal injection protocols since the Court's grant of cert. in Hill, "[t]here has been no consistency in the results these pleas have drawn from the Court."

February 1, 2006 at 05:40 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The AP story is difficult to digest and, as usual, most outlets have only regurgitated the story to this point. However, I was able to locate a more comprehensive--and comprehendible--look at the case and today's decision: http://www.kctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=4442125

Hope this at least sheds some light.

Posted by: Shawn Davisson (student) | Feb 1, 2006 6:09:09 PM

After the district court denied Taylor's claim that the Missouri method of lethal injection was cruel and unusual, he appealed and petitioned the 8th Circuit for a stay of execution. (The previously imposed stay would have expired at 5 p.m. Wednesday.) A three-judge panel, with one judge dissenting, denied the stay. Then Taylor petitioned for rehearing en banc, and the court en banc, with one judge dissenting, granted the stay. Then the state petitioned the Supreme Court to dissolve the stay, and lost in a 6-3 vote.

Posted by: Booker fan | Feb 2, 2006 10:04:47 AM

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