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Death row inmates ask for stay while they appeal to Supreme Court

Death row inmates ask for stay while they appeal to Supreme Court
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Four death row inmates are asking for the delay of a court order paving the way for their executions while they appeal their case to the Supreme Court.

The inmates lost an appeal at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in their legal challenge against the Trump administration's new execution protocols. Their legal team asked the D.C. Circuit to delay its mandate by two weeks in order to prepare a petition for the Supreme Court.

In a filing submitted to the appeals court, the lawyers said it is critically important to resolve the legal questions surrounding the administration's execution procedures before allowing federal death sentences to resume for the first time since 2003.

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"The outcome of this case will dictate whether the Government may employ this Protocol in executing the more than sixty prisoners under federal sentences of death, including several whose execution dates were announced at the same time as the new Protocol itself," the lawyers wrote in their motion.

The circuit court last week said it would not rehear the case after a three-judge panel upheld the execution protocols in April. The panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the administration, with two Trump appointees carrying the majority.

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrEnergized Trump probes pose problems for Biden Pavlich: Biden can't ignore defund the police contributions to violent crime spike Progressives slam Garland for DOJ stances on Trump-era cases MORE last year announced protocols that implemented a new lethal injection routine. The four death row inmates challenging the protocols say they violate a death penalty law requiring the federal government to respect the regulations of each state governing executions.

The Supreme Court in December rejected the government's request to lift a preliminary injunction against the protocols while the legal challenge plays out. But three of the court's conservative justices urged the D.C. Circuit to resolve the case quickly.

"The Court has expressed the hope that the Court of Appeals will proceed with 'appropriate dispatch,' and I see no reason why the Court of Appeals should not be able to decide this case, one way or the other, within the next 60 days," Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoSupreme Court strikes down FHFA director's firing protection Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Supreme Court unveils two major opinions MORE wrote in an opinion that his colleagues Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court strikes down FHFA director's firing protection Student athletes or independent contractors? Supreme Court moves the goalposts on the NCAA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court strikes down FHFA director's firing protection Student athletes or independent contractors? Supreme Court moves the goalposts on the NCAA Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE joined.

This report was updated at 3:28 p.m.