By Hannah Garcia
LAW WEEK COLORADO
If the death penalty questions in Glossip v. Gross are any indication, even the narrowest of court challenges can have far-reaching implications.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments April 29 in Glossip v. Gross, a death penalty case challenging Oklahoma’s use of midazolam, part of a three-drug protocol meant to sedate a prisoner before death-inducing drugs are introduced.
With a string of well-publicized executions involving the drug gone awry, the high court is considering whether it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
“There’s something a little bit surreal about going down this road to finding humane methods of execution,” said Aya Gruber, a constitutional law professor at the University of Colorado Law School. “Once you go down this road, it sort of exposes this whole enterprise of killing people — sending them to a cell and waiting to die, is it really humane?”