The US Supreme Court in Glossip v Gross has ruled in a 5-4 vote that Oklahoma may continue to use midazolam, the lethal injection drug during executions. It has been declared that the Oklahoma death row prisoners who brought the matter to court “failed to identify a known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain”.
The justices have been divided on the issue of midazolam as the first drug of the three-part lethal injection protocol that cannot reliably render an inmate unconscious and free of pain while the second and third drugs paralyze him and stop his heart, thus making the punishment and execution inhumane. Some have questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty itself and believe it to be in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution that prohibits the federal government from imposing cruel and unusual punishments including torture.
31 US states have the death penalty and have lethal injection as the primary execution method. However since 2009, some US states like Florida, have adopted a single-drug protocol, while Oklahoma continues to use a three-drug protocol for executions.