In a Missouri death row case on Monday, Justice Neil Gorsuch, perhaps reacting to sharp criticism of the court’s refusal to delay the execution of an inmate who wanted his imam present in the death chamber, appeared to impose a new and higher bar on last-minute execution stays, drawing a rebuke from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
“Last-minute stays should be the extreme exception, not the norm, and ‘the last-minute nature of an application’ that ‘could have been brought’ earlier, or ‘an applicant’s attempt at manipulation,’ ‘may be grounds for denial of a stay,’” Gorsuch wrote in his 5-4 majority opinion in Bucklew v. Precythe.
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