Three portraits line the chambers of Justice Stephen Breyer: Justices Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg and Harry Blackmun—all critics of the death penalty.

To capital punishment scholar John Bessler of the University of Baltimore School of Law, it seemed fitting and perhaps even inevitable that Breyer would write the most detailed critique of the death penalty to date in his 2015 dissent in Glossip v. Gross, a decision upholding a lethal injection drug used by Oklahoma.

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