In 2004 and 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court opened doors to civil rights challenges to execution by lethal injection. Will it close those doors in the new year?

The Supreme Court has never held that a method of execution, such as electrocution or firing squad, violates the Eighth Amendment ban against cruel and unusual punishment. It is not being asked to hold that lethal injection is an unconstitutional method in Baze v. Rees, No. 07-5439, which will be argued on Jan. 7.

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