Clarence Thomas blasts Stephen Breyer as death penalty divides Supreme Court
[AMP.WASHINGTONTIMES] Justice Clarence Thomas wanted to make sure there was no doubt about the heinous crime of Christopher Lee Price, whose attack on an Alabama minister nearly scalped the man, leaving him to a slow and painful death.

In an opinion Monday, Justice Thomas defended the Supreme Court’s decision to approve Price’s execution and blasted fellow Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who had tried to erect roadblocks on the path to the execution chamber last month.

It was the latest skirmish over the death penalty
, which during an otherwise hum-drum year for the high court has emerged as a surprising source of division for the justices, some of whom have signaled deep skepticism of continued use of the extreme penalty.

Left without a broad case to deliver an outright ban, they instead have settled for trying to chip away at how and when the states can carry out the death penalty.

"There appears to be four votes to find the death penalty unconstitutional, if not as a matter of doctrine then as a matter of practice," said Ilya Shapiro, a legal scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute.

The divide is playing out in key cases about how and when it can be administered and what accommodations a state owes to someone who is about to die.

Posted by: Fred 2019-05-15