Dr. Ervin Yen holds a prescription for Midazolam
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Supreme Court Upholds Use Of Midazolam, But How Does The Drug Work Outside Executions?

The Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol Monday. The case centered on a single drug, midazolam, that’s now used as part of a three-drug cocktail. Critics claim it is unreliable during executions and cannot produce a “deep, coma-like state” on a regular basis. But in hospitals across Oklahoma, the drug is being used by anesthesiologists very frequently. Families crowd a surgical floor waiting room at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City. Just down the hall, there’s an...
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to death penalty opponents, upholding the use of a controversial drug as part of a three-drug execution cocktail. The vote was 5-4, with unusually passionate and sometimes bitter opinions from the majority and dissenting justices.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court says the EPA should first have considered how much it would cost power plants to do that.

The decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future EPA regulations.

Mercury in the air is a health risk. When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury that can end up in fish we eat and cause serious health problems.

Supreme Court Upholds Use Of Execution Drug

16 hours ago

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial execution drug.

The case was brought by a group of Oklahoma inmates who argued that a drug used by the state constituted cruel and unusual punishment because it did not guarantee that prisoners would be unconscious when additional drugs were administered to stop their hearts.

The drug was used in three botched executions last year that appeared to leave prisoners in excruciating pain. The court ruled that the Oklahoma prisoners did not prove that a better drug was available.

A water line for hydraulic fracturing crosses an oil-field access road in Woods County, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal judge in Wyoming this week delayed the start of new rules for fracking on federal lands, issuing a temporary stay to give the federal government more time to explain how it developed the rule, The Hill and Casper Star-Tribune report.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.
Granger Meador / Flickr

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to curb mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country.

House Majority Leader Carl Albert (D-Okla.) sits in the Oval Office with President Lyndon Johnson.
Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

Southeast Oklahoma is an unusual place, politically. Many southerners settled in the area after the Civil War, leading to its nickname “Little Dixie.”

Through the 20th century, it became the center of political power in Oklahoma, and the Democratic Party dominated politics well into the late 1990s. Decades after the formerly “Solid South” had switched to the Republican Party, Democrats enjoyed an 8:1 voter registration advantage in southeast Oklahoma.

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, says the sedative used in Oklahoma's lethal injection cocktail does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Here's the background to the case, in the words of SCOTUSblog:

Dr. Ervin Yen holds a prescription for Midazolam
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

The Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol Monday. The case centered on a single drug, midazolam, that’s now used as part of a three-drug cocktail. Critics claim it is unreliable during executions and cannot produce a “deep, coma-like state” on a regular basis.

But in hospitals across Oklahoma, the drug is being used by anesthesiologists very frequently.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren says a recent story questioning the integrity of the university and the Oklahoma Geological Survey is “a bald-faced lie and some of the most inaccurate reporting I’ve ever seen in my life.”

It's been 70 years since a nuclear bomb was used in war, but in spite of that passage of time, it still has a great deal of relevance as a strategic construct even if they are unlikely to ever be used. Countries that possess nuclear weapons can pursue a more aggressive projection of power and a more aggressive foreign policy than they might be able to do otherwise.

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