Supreme Court remains divided in death penalty arguments

April 13, 2019 by Jerry McCormick

Politics are not supposed to have a place in our judicial system, but that appears to no longer be the case.

Politicking has gotten so bad, especially on hot button issues like the death penalty, that partisanship has infiltrated even the Supreme Court, as is evidenced in the court’s divide on this issue.

Early Morning Reprieve

An execution in Alabama was halted late Thursday night simply because the Supreme Court was caught up in politics.

Even though the 5-4 decision was eventually made in favor of the execution proceeding, the decision was not released until after midnight.

The late-night dissent was authored by Justice Breyer, whose opinion was not actually flattering to the entire process.

Justice Breyer stated, “To proceed in this way calls into question the basic principles of fairness that should underlie our criminal justice system.”

He added, “To proceed in this mater in the middle of the night without giving all members of the Court the opportunity for discussion tomorrow is, I believe, unfortunate.”

The Execution

The case at hand is the execution of Christopher Lee Price for the murder of minister Bill Lynn. According to court documents, Lynn was ambushed and stabbed with a sword multiple times.

The case has been on the docket for decades, but the execution has been constantly delayed as the case works it’s way through the courts.

Most recent stays, however, were lifted by the Supreme Court from the lower courts because of the time it took for Price to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The fact our Justices cannot come together on cases such as this and that we constantly see 5-4 decisions, usually along ideological lines, is proof positive that the system itself is broken.

Justice is not supposed to be based on political ideology but rather the facts and how they are defined by the Constitution.

In more and more cases, we are seeing the liberal side of the court make emotional decisions rather than constitutionally-based decisions.

To be clear, it is okay the Justices are disagreeing.

It is not, however, good that they are disagreeing for political reasons rather than over their interpretation of the Constitution.