Opinions Relating to Orders - 2019

Barr v. Purkey

The application for stay or vacatur presented to THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is granted. The District Court’s July 15, 2020 order granting a preliminary injunction is vacated. JUSTICE BREYER, with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG joins, dissenting. Two days ago, the Federal Government conducted its first execution in nearly two decades. Today, it will conduct its second. Both cases have come before us with the defendants pointing to what I believe are serious legal defects of a kind that have long plagued the administration of the death penalty in the United States. See Glossip v. Gross, 576 U. S. 863, 908–948 (2015) (BREYER, J., dissenting). The first case, that of Daniel Lewis Lee, revealed the inherent arbitrariness of the death penalty. Lee was sentenced to death and his codefendant to life even though the two men committed the same crime. See Barr v. Lee, ante, at 2 (BREYER, J., dissenting); see also Glossip, 576 U. S., at 917 (“40 years of further experience [since Gregg v. Georgia, 429 U. S. 1301 (1976)] make it increasingly clear that the death penalty is imposed arbitrarily”). Lee’s case also implicated the problem of excessive delay and the risk of severe and unnecessary suffering brought about by the Government’s chosen method of execution. Lee, ante, p. _ (BREYER, J., dissenting).