A Gorsuch Horror Story

No wonder Republicans love him: Neil Gorsuch really is Baby Scalia. Like his idol, he’s a good Catholic—until it gets to the question of the death penalty. There, he’s just as ghoulish as any Republican could hope for.

Just a few months ago, Gorsuch — now President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court — ruled against the estate of a man who was executed in one of the worst botched lethal injections in US history. Gorsuch and two other judges ruled that it was an “innocent misadventure” or an “isolated mishap,” but not cruel and unusual punishment.

In that case, Clayton Lockett’s estate sued the state of Oklahoma for constitutional violations in his 43-minute execution. Lockett was given a controversial sedative called midazolam, then two drugs that cause immense pain: a paralytic and a drug to stop the heart.

After he was injected with the drugs, Lockett raised himself on the gurney and said, “Shit is fucking with me.” Executioners had thought he was already dead.

Members of the state’s execution team examined his IV, which was set up near his groin and covered by a blanket. When they moved the blanket, they discovered the IV had infiltrated, creating swelling the size of between a golf ball and a tennis ball. The drugs weren’t going into his veins like they were supposed to.

The prison warden called it a “bloody mess.” The state attempted to call off the execution 30 minutes in, but Lockett died anyway 10 minutes later.

It was horrifying, and Gorsuch didn’t just have a role in denying Lockett’s family redress, he helped set the stage for the man’s tortuous death. The use of midazolam as an execution sedative and Oklahoma’s execution procedures had been in front of Gorsuch before, and he voted to uphold it. “At that time, the drug midazolam had already been used in other botched executions, including a nearly two-hour execution in Arizona.”

But he’s “pro-life,” so he’s a darling of the right. This man is not mainstream. This man should not be illegitimately installed in the seat Republicans stole on the Supreme Court.

–Joan McCarter, Daily Kos

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