"The Supreme Court said states can continue to conduct executions using the sedative midazolam, rejecting claims the drug poses too great a risk that condemned prisoners will suffer excruciating pain.
The 5-4 decision bitterly split the court on Monday. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said the prisoners who brought suit failed to suggest an alternative to midazolam. He added the scarcity of more effective sedatives could be traced to the anti-death-penalty movement, which has pressured pharmaceutical manufacturers to stop supplying execution chambers.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas joined the majority.
In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority's position left the condemned men 'exposed to what may well be the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake.' Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the dissent."
When I examined the cost of Florida’s death penalty many years ago, I concluded that seeing a death sentence through to execution costs at least six times as much as a life sentence. A more recent study by a federal commission pegged the difference in the costs of the trials at eight times as much. Duke University professor Philip J. Cook studied North Carolina’s system and concluded that the Tar Heel State could save $11 million per year by abolishing the death penalty. California’s system incurs excess costs estimated at some $200 million per year . From Kansas to Maryland , Tennessee to Pennsylvania , studies have all reached similar conclusions.