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Brandeis University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1949 | Waltham, MA

Julian Flesch


Articles

Justice Gorsuch misinterprets the Eighth Amendment

   On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Bucklew v. Precythe to allow the state of Missouri to execute a man whose rare medical condition will cause him excruciating pain when given a lethal injection. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the court, asserting that the defendant, Russell Bucklew, had taken too long to object to the method of execution. He argues that the Eighth Amendment’s clause barring cruel and unusual punishment does not guarantee a painless death, and that for a punishment to be cruel it must be intended to inflict pain and so be “more than the mere extinguishing of a life.” He also says that “courts should police carefully against attempts to use such challenges as tools to interpose unjustified delay.” Finally, he says that it is the defendant’s responsibility to find a proven alternative method which would substantially reduce the risk of pain as the court held in a previous case,  Glossip v. Gross. Despite the precedent set by apparently similar decisions in Glossip and also in Baze v. Rees, Gorsuch’s arguments are not constitutionally sound and this execution violates the Eighth Amendment. 


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