New Supreme Court Justice Alito, who was sworn in early today in a second White House ceremony, is refusing to let Missouri execute Michael Taylor. Taylor was convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 15 year-old girl in 1989.

Alito’s first assignment is to handle emergency appeals for multiple states including Missouri. As a result, an appeals court will hear Taylor’s claim that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

Reporters and witnesses had gathered for the execution at the prison in Bonne Terre, tentatively scheduled for 7:00 pm this evening, but it will be postponed.
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