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November 9, 2021

Rounding up reviews of SCOTUS oral arguments on religious liberty in death chamber

On Tuesday morning, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument in Ramirez v. Collier to consider whether a condemned prisoner can have his pastor physically touch him and audibly pray in the execution chamber while he is being executed.  I have not yet had a chance to listen to the oral argument (which is available here), but a quick scan of a number of press reports suggests the Justices were split on the matter.  Here is a partial round-up of blog and press comment on the argument:

From NPR, "Supreme Court conservatives are skeptical on spiritual advisers in death chamber"

From SCOTUSblog, "Court debates inmate’s request for prayer and touch during execution, but a key justice remains silent"

From Slate, "The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Finally Found a Religious Objection They Don’t Like"

From USA Today, “Texas death row case: Supreme Court wrestles with religious freedom in the execution chamber.”

November 9, 2021 at 11:32 PM | Permalink


As one law professor noted on Twitter, this is a question that has confused the Supreme Court, resulting in multiple split rulings that left things very unclear. So, it made sense to clarify.

But, ultimately, the question is of minor significance regarding wider issues. Religious liberty in prisons (dealt in a few SCOTUS cases) raises various issues. The death penalty obvious does as well.

This is more of a pinprick deal.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 11, 2021 11:40:58 AM

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