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Texas Goes Forward


Predictions that the Supreme Court's grant of certiorari in the lethal injection case, Baze v. Rees, would place a nationwide hold on executions until the case was decided were disproved in short order. Texas tonight carried out the execution of Michael Richard, who raped and murdered Marguerite Dixon in her home 21 years ago. Michael Graczyk reports for AP. The Attorney General's fact sheet is here.


What does this mean for the future? Does this give a hint about the result in Baze?


In answer to your question in the other thread, I have not seen a report in the press of any dissent on the denial of a stay. The actual order will be on the court's web site tomorrow. If there are no dissents indicated, that does not necessarily mean the vote was unanimous, but it would mean no justice felt strongly enough about it to make a point of dissenting.

Does this give us a hint about the outcome? Yes, maybe a hint. One would think that if a majority were convinced that lethal injection as generally practiced, including Texas, were unconstitutional, they would not have let the execution go forward. But sometimes they do things you wouldn't expect.


This is not the first time the court has granted cert in a case, but denied stays in other cases presenting the same issues. One explanation of course: it takes only 4 votes to grant cert, but it takes 5 votes to grant a stay.

Precisely the same thing happened when the Supreme Court granted cert. in Hill v. McDonough back in 2005. Subject to Kent's comment on unexpected consequences, I'd guess that Ward is correct and there are not 5 votes to overturn the Kentucky Supreme Court in Baze.

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