It didn’t take long for the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that a death row convict had a First Amendment right to sue the government to reveal the details of how he will be executed.
Here’s how the case was blurbed in the July 22 update that I received from the State Bar of Arizona:
"July 21, 2014 - 14-16310 - Joseph R. Wood, III v. Charles L. Ryan, Director of Arizona DOC
The district court's denial of petitioner's motion for a preliminary injunction to delay his execution until he receives information regarding the method of his execution that he requested from the Arizona Department of Corrections, is reversed, where: 1) petitioner has presented serious questions going to the merits of his First Amendment right of access claim; 2) petitioner has established irreparable injury; 3) the balance of hardships tips sharply in his favor; and 4) the injunction is in the public interest."
Not coincidentally, the 9th Circuit’s ruling delayed the execution, to which the convict was sentenced in 1991 for murders he committed in 1989.
And here’s how the U. S. Supreme Court responded in its order of July 22 (the day after the 9th Circuit issued its ruling):
"The application to vacate the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granting a conditional preliminary injunction, presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court, is granted. The district judge did not abuse his discretion in denying Wood’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversing the district court and granting a conditional preliminary injunction is vacated."
As Orin Kerr said at the Volokh Conspiracy blog: “That was fast.”
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