May 12, 2021

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Supreme Court rejects death row inmates’ appeal to stop federal executions

People wait in line to attend the opening day of the new term of the Supreme Court in Washington, October 1, 2018. 

Aaron P. Bernstein | Reuters

The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will not hear an appeal brought by four death row inmates seeking to block a lower court order allowing the Trump administration to move forward with their executions. 

The decision was announced in an unsigned order. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have heard the appeal.

Attorney General William Barr announced last year that the government would carry out federal executions for the first time in nearly two decades. 

The inmates challenged the execution protocol on the basis that the executions are required to be carried out “in the manner provided by state law.” 

A federal district court ruled for the inmates, but a three-judge panel of the D.C. federal appeals court reversed that decision in April by a vote of 2-1. 

Three of the executions are scheduled to be carried out next month. A fourth is scheduled for August. The inmates, Danny Lee,  Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken and Keith Dwayne Nelson, have all been convicted of murdering children, among other crimes. 

The case is Alfred Bourgeois v. Attorney General William Barr, No. 19-1348.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates. 

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