Trump's last days in office marred by disregard for human life. Death penalty just another example.

Trump reinstated federal executions after nearly 20 years, with two slated for this week. When will the U.S. drop the practice and join other Western nations? If there's one thing that has defined the final days of the Trump administration, it's the lack of regard for human life. We saw that play out Wednesday after President Donald Trump incited rioters to bust through the U.S. Capitol and hunt down members of Congress.  Inciting a violent assault on the Capitol also displayed a disregard for democracy and the rule of law. This was the tragic finale of four years of failed federal leadership, and far from the only instance where the president’s disdain for human life has been demonstrated. His abject failure to provide the leadership necessary to deal effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic is beyond dispute, with the consequence being that the daily death count from COVID-19 has now surpassed that of 9/11. In the face of these unfolding tragedies, and at a time when the Trump

USA | Trump administration asks Supreme Court to allow execution of Lisa Montgomery

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court Tuesday to clear the way for the execution of Lisa Montgomery, who is scheduled to die today by lethal injection — the first woman to face the federal death penalty in nearly seven decades. 

The request from the Justice Department came after a divided federal appeals court delayed her execution until after President Trump leaves office next week. 

A delay of days could have a significant impact on Montgomery’s fate. The Trump administration pushed to restart federal executions for the first time since 2003 and resumed carrying them out last year. It has since carried out 10 federal executions, the most in a single year in the U.S. in decades. But President-elect Joe Biden opposes capital punishment, has pledged to push to eliminate the federal death penalty and is expected to pause executions. 

Montgomery, 52, was convicted in 2007 of strangling a Missouri woman who was eight months pregnant, and cutting the baby from her abdomen. The infant survived and was raised by her father. 

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall urged the justices to “immediately set aside this unwarranted obstacle to carrying out a lawful death sentence” as it has done in a series of rulings in recent months. 

The late night action from the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, filed after 11 p.m. on Monday, is a “belated about-face” and contrary to its rulings on identical claims in other cases, Wall wrote. 

Montgomery’s execution date was initially delayed after two of her lawyers fell ill with the coronavirus after traveling to visit her in prison. She is now scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m., and was moved Monday from a women’s prison in Texas to the federal execution facility in Indiana. 

Members of the victim’s family have traveled to Indiana to witness the execution and, according to the Justice Department, it should not be canceled at the “eleventh hour.” 

“The victim’s family, her community, and the Nation ‘deserve better,’” the government said. 

The Supreme Court has rejected previous attempts to stop the Trump administration from carrying out federal executions using a new lethal-injection protocol. 

The order from the full D.C. Circuit reversed an initial three-judge panel decision that had allowed the execution to proceed. Writing for the panel majority, Judge Gregory Katsas rejected Montgomery’s claim that when it comes to scheduling executions, the federal government must follow the law of the state in which the death row inmate was convicted. Montgomery’s lawyers argue that her date is inconsistent with Missouri law and violates the Federal Death Penalty Act. 

The full court sided with Judge Patricia A. Millett, who dissented in the panel ruling and noted that Missouri law requires 90 days notice between the scheduling of an execution and the execution itself. 

Four judges, including three nominated by President Trump, indicated they would not have granted the stay. 

Judges Cornelia T.L. Pillard and Merrick Garland, who has been nominated as Biden’s attorney general, did not participate in the ruling by the full court. 

The stay of execution gives the D.C. Circuit time to consider whether federal law governing executions requires the government to follow Missouri’s 90-day notice requirement. The order says oral argument will be scheduled after Jan. 29. 

Montgomery’s lawyer Kelley Henry said in a statement Tuesday that the court “was correct to accept this appeal because it is a question that keeps coming up in these cases and the lower courts are split on the issue.” 

Separately, a judge in Indiana put Montgomery’s execution on hold Monday to consider whether her mental illness and history of sexual abuse as a child bar her from being put to death under the Eighth Amendment. 

Montgomery’s lawyers say she has severe mental illness “exacerbated by a lifetime of sexual torture she suffered at the hands of caretakers” and they are seeking to prove her incompetence. 

The Justice Department has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. 

Montgomery has also petitioned the president for clemency. 

Source: Washington Post, Staff, January 12, 2021

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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