In the wake of the Supreme Court’s refusal early Wednesday morning to hear the last-minute appeal of a Tennessee death row inmate, two justices clashed — one with some bite — over whether execution after lengthy delay is cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

Tennessee executed Cecil Johnson at 1:34 a.m. Wednesday. Johnson had spent nearly 29 years on death row for three murders committed during a robbery of a Nashville convenience store. He was convicted in 1981.

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