Death penalty cases rule Court’s off week

The Supreme Court is not in session this week, but there is plenty of activity on its docket. Wednesday the Court again halted an execution, this time in the case of a Virginia man, just hours before he was to face lethal injection. SCOTUSblog has a copy of the order stopping Christopher Scott Emmett’s execution here.

On Tuesday, the Court denied an application to vacate a stay of execution in the case of Arkansas inmate Jack Harold Jones Jr. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.

Earlier Tuesday, speaking at the law school of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Scalia said that his Catholic faith plays no role in his judicial decision making. “I am really hard put to tell you of a single decision or opinion of mine that would have come out differently if I were not a Catholic,” Scalia said according to the Associated Press.

By way of example, Scalia pointed to the church’s recent opposition to the death penalty after historically sanctioning the practice. He said if he believed the church’s current view of the death penalty were infallible, he might feel compelled to resign, the AP reported.

Meanwhile today the AP reports that recent high court review of death penalty cases has had a slowing effect on executions across the country.

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