The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.
The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."
- The high court ruled the execution could go ahead by a 5-4 vote, with conservatives in the majority.
- Attorney General Bill Barr instructed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to reinstate the death penalty last year after a 17-year informal moratorium, which was first established so the Justice Department could review its lethal injection protocols.
Details: Daniel Lewis Lee, who was set to be executed on Monday, is a former white supremacist who was convicted in 1999 for robbing and murdering a family of three, including an 8-year-old girl.
- The execution was originally scheduled to take place on Dec. 9, 2019, but has been held up in court.
- Three family members of the victims sought this month to delay the execution because traveling across the country to attend would put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Where it stands: Lee’s execution was scheduled for about 4 a.m. ET Tuesday, though it remained unclear if it had taken place.