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Samuel Alito

High court: Florida death penalty system is unconstitutional

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(UPDATED) The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Florida’s controversial system that allows judges, and not juries, to decide whether or not convicted criminals deserve the death penalty. The high court ruled 8-1 against the current system, with only Justice Samuel Alito dissenting. The court sided with Timothy Lee Hurst, who was convicted of the 1998 murder of his manager at a Popeye’s restaurant in Pensacola. A jury divided 7-5 for death, but a judge imposed the sentence. Under Florida…

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Florida, Oklahoma move quickly to resume lethal injections

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Oklahoma and Florida moved quickly to resume lethal injections after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of midazolam, a sedative that has been used in several problematic executions. Attorneys general in both states asked courts Monday to allow executions to proceed, just hours after the high court voted 5-4 in a case from Oklahoma that midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials in both states have said…

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‘Ugly’ potential fallout from Supreme Court health care case

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A Supreme Court ruling due in a few weeks could wipe out health insurance for millions of people covered by President Barack Obama‘s health care law. But it’s Republicans – not White House officials – who have been talking about damage control. A likely reason: Twenty-six of the 34 states that would be most affected by the ruling have Republican governors, and 22 of the 24 GOP Senate seats up in 2016 are in those states. Obama’s law offers subsidized…

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