Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, February 08, 2019

Devout Muslim inmate Domenique Ray challenged the State of Alabama's policy of only allowing a Christian Chaplain to be present during executions. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court granted a stay of execution, finding a strong likelihood that the prison had violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by preferring one religion over another. But the next day, by a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the execution to go forward. Ray's life ended Thursday night, by lethal injection. His imam watched from a separate room, The Associated Press reported.

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The majority's order, written by Justice Thomas, was one paragraph long, and addressed only the perceived untimeliness of Ray's claim, an argument that was thoroughly debunked by the Court of Appeals.

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As the appellate panel noted:

The claim presented by Domineque Ray touches at the heart of the Establishment Clause. Indeed, we can think of no principle more elemental to the Establishment Clause than that the states and the federal government shall not favor one religious denomination over another. In the words of the Supreme Court: "The clearest command of the Establishment Clause is that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another." Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 244 (1982). Since Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court "has adhered to the principle, clearly manifested in the history and logic of the Establishment Clause, that no State can ‘pass laws which aid one religion' or that ‘prefer one religion over another.'" Larson, 456 U.S. at 246 (quoting Everson, 330 U.S. at 15).

#1 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 07:58 AM | Reply

The conservatives on the Court don't believe in freedom of religion and should be recognized as the bigots they are.

#2 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-08 08:01 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

As to the claim's alleged untimeliness:

[A]rguments suggesting unreasonable delay on Ray's part are far less compelling. For starters, a review of the relevant statutory text would not have put Ray or his lawyers on notice that the institution's Christian Chaplain would always be present in the execution chamber or that Ray's Imam could never be. The Alabama Code only says that certain persons "may be present at an execution"; it does not say that the Chaplain will be present. Ala. Code § 15–1883(a) (emphasis added). It lists both the Chaplain and "[t]he spiritual advisor of the condemned" as among those who "may be present," without drawing any distinction between where these two individuals will be situated during the execution. Id. Nor does the statute distinguish between the execution chamber and the witness viewing room, nor, finally, does it say anything about whether the Chaplain may have contact with the inmate at the critical moment. Id. Even the most careful review of the statute by Ray or his lawyers would not have revealed that the prison's Christian Chaplain will stand in the execution chamber while any other spiritual advisor, relatives or friends, and members of the press are in a separate room.

On January 23, only after Ray requested and was denied a religious accommodation, he asked the Warden and the Chaplain to see the prison's policies requiring that Holman's prison Chaplain, and only the prison Chaplain, would be placed in the execution chamber during an execution; he was told that he could not see Alabama's written policy. There is little reason, then, to think that he must have known the contents of these confidential policies at an earlier date. Indeed, the fact that these procedures have been filed thoroughly redacted and under seal is a further indication that Alabama's execution procedures are closely guarded by the ADOC.

Thus we are left with only the suggestion that he must have known ADOC policies from an earlier date because he sat on death row for a lengthy period of time. But the state has provided no evidence that Ray would have learned at any point about these polices or that he could have filed a lawsuit challenging these policies any earlier than he did. According to Ray -- and it is unrebutted on this record -- he first requested and was denied accommodations based on his religion on January 23. He filed his complaint in district court on January 28, just five days later (including two days which fell over a weekend). The state has not provided us with any evidence that Ray knew or should have known that his religious beliefs would not be accommodated prior to January 23, or that he had any opportunity to request an accommodation prior to that date.

#3 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 08:01 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Republicans on the Supreme Court will bend over backwards to protect a Christian from the travesty of having to serve a gay customer, but when it comes to a textbook Establishment Clause violation that fundamentally harms a Muslim, they devote one paragraph to denying his claim on a technicality that doesn't even exist.

We can look forward to a lifetime of disgusting decisions like this one. If you voted for Trump, or didn't vote at all, go ---- yourself.

#4 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 08:05 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 12

Well said Joe. I loved your last sentence and I agree with it completely.

#5 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-08 08:13 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

FTFY:

We can look forward to a lifetime of disgusting decisions like this one. If you voted for Trump, voted 3rd party, or didn't vote at all, go ---- yourself.

#6 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-02-08 08:28 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

If you voted for Jill Stein go ---- yourself. She did pull enough votes in the most important swing states to swing the election in favor of Trump. She's a spoiler and I hope and pray that she does not choose to do the same ego massage in 2020.

#7 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-08 08:37 AM | Reply

Ummm ...Muslims don't need any bloody Imam when they are dying. LOL

Ray was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl

And we should care about this person's comfort... WHY????

#8 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-08 08:43 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Because of course the state should be as evil as the convicted.

Another piece of the facade of the shining city on the hill has tarnished and fallen off.

#9 | Posted by Nixon at 2019-02-08 08:51 AM | Reply

And we should care about this person's comfort... WHY????

We don't. And neither do these crocodile tear-shedders. It's just that no one was given any OTHER talking points this morning from Wackjob HQ, so they're going it alone on today's faux outrage.

#10 | Posted by Spork at 2019-02-08 08:55 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

"If you voted for Jill Stein go ---- yourself. She did pull enough votes in the most important swing states to swing the election in favor of Trump. "

How about you reserve that statement for voters in the swing states where her vote numbers (assuming they would have otherwise gone to Clinton) made a difference in that state's election?

#11 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2019-02-08 09:14 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

And we should care about this person's comfort... WHY????

I don't care about this person.

I care about separation of church and state, and the First Amendment to the Constitution.

I care about the integrity of our judiciary.

I care about not having Christian conservative ideologues on the Supreme Court.

You, being a worthless troll, do not care about any of those things, which is certainly your prerogative.

#12 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 09:15 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 9

I'd love to hear from a Republican on the merits of this decision. Bringing up Jill Stein and third party voting just gives them bait to talk about something else.

#13 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 09:16 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"How about you reserve that statement for voters in the swing states where her vote numbers (assuming they would have otherwise gone to Clinton) made a difference in that state's election?"

I understand your point but really, either you voted against Donald Trump or you didn't. If you didn't it is on your conscience forever.

#14 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-08 09:23 AM | Reply

I care about separation of church and state

Islam doesn't have a "church" or a priesthood. Separation of church and state is a problem for Christians only.

You, being a worthless troll

Woooo.... anger issues much?

do not care about any of those things

Listen, you little ----... Muslims don't need last rites or a priest before dying. That is a Christian problem.

which is certainly your prerogative.

Pointing out your ignorance is certainly my prerogative. LOL

#15 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-08 09:31 AM | Reply

Joyce Alene @JoyceWhiteVance

Replying to @neal_katyal
I haven't had a chance to read the opinion, but Alabama argued below that it wasn't a Muslim ban, just a ban on having people who aren't Dept. of Corrections employees in the execution chamber & they didn't have any Imams on staff. Same problem if you're Hindu, Sikh, Jewish etc.

I'm not suggesting that Alabama's argument is a good one. Very much to the contrary.

#16 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-02-08 09:32 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Steve Vladeck @steve_vladeck

If you haven't read Justice Kagan's dissent from #SCOTUS's 5-4 decision to lift the Court of Appeals' stay of execution in the Alabama case in which the state refused to provide a Muslim inmate with an imam in the execution chamber, you really should:

www.supremecourt.gov

#17 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-02-08 09:33 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"How about you reserve that statement for voters in the swing states where her vote numbers (assuming they would have otherwise gone to Clinton) made a difference in that state's election?"

Hysterical purse-swinging partisan cheerleaders can't do that. They're too busy pretending to be superior......while posting from their slummy homes.

#18 | Posted by eberly at 2019-02-08 09:37 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Separation of church and state is a problem for Christians only.

You're a moron. The term "church" in "separation of church and state" is a reference to all religion. Why are you even posting on a topic you are so ignorant about?

Muslims don't need last rites or a priest before dying

That doesn't mean they can't request them anyway if the same treatment is being given to a Christian. I'm reluctant to take your claim as true regardless given how stupid you've already demonstrated yourself to be.

#19 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 09:40 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

#16 they didn't have any Imams on staff

If the state doesn't have a DOC-approved imam, then that's part of the violation. They are the ones who wrote a law allowing people in the execution chamber and interpreted it as Christian Chaplains only. Making them hire people is part of the remedy.

#20 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 09:43 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

The real issue here is capital punishment. It's barbaric and has no place in modern society. If the state stops murdering people we won't need to worry which brand of conman gets to stand next to them as they are murdered.

#21 | Posted by qcp at 2019-02-08 09:44 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I understand your point but really, either you voted against Donald Trump or you didn't. If you didn't it is on your conscience forever.
#14 | Posted by Danni at 2019-02-08 09:23 AM

I'm not sure what the ballot looked like in Florida, but in VA we only had the option to vote FOR people, not against them. Unless you mean not voting for someone is the same as voting against them, then you should feel great since every 3rd party voter did vote against Trump.

#22 | Posted by Avigdore at 2019-02-08 09:57 AM | Reply

"I'm not sure what the ballot looked like in Florida, but in VA we only had the option to vote FOR people, not against them. Unless you mean not voting for someone is the same as voting against them, then you should feel great since every 3rd party voter did vote against Trump."

Pretending you don't understand the point just makes you look ridiculous. If you didn't vote against Trump, and for the only candidate who could have defeated Trump then you effectively assisted Trump. I don't care how you try to deflect from that fact, it's just reality. I live in reality not in nonsensical excuses.

#23 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-08 10:14 AM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

As it concerns Mr. Ray, it doesn't matter any longer: Dominique Ray, Muslim Inmate, Executed After Appeal Over Spiritual Adviser Fails

#24 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-02-08 10:46 AM | Reply

Does this mean if an atheist is sentenced to death in Alabama they have to put up with a stupid Christian minister on their death bed? These conservative justices have twisted minds and a self serving agenda

#25 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-02-08 10:49 AM | Reply

"no one was given any OTHER talking points this morning from Wackjob HQ, so they're going it alone on today's faux outrage."

Pretend some Christian guy was being executed in Dearborn. Should he only have access to an Imam?

It's as petty as government gets. WTF is the big deal letting him have his own religious representative?

#26 | Posted by Danforth at 2019-02-08 10:57 AM | Reply

The last meal they served him was pork chops, ham, and bacon.

Not what he ordered, but that's not the way Louisiana rolls.

#27 | Posted by Danforth at 2019-02-08 10:59 AM | Reply | Funny: 3

Does this mean if an atheist is sentenced to death in Alabama they have to put up with a stupid Christian minister on their death bed?

Per the appellate opinion, here is how it works in Alabama:

During the execution, Chaplain Summers, a Christian, will kneel at the side of the prisoner and pray with him if the inmate requests prayer. If the inmate does not want pastoral care from Chaplain Summers, he will remain in the execution chamber standing unobtrusively by the wall. The inmate's designated witnesses, limited to six, along with any spiritual advisor other than Chaplain Summers, may be seated in a witness room, separated from the death chamber by a large window.

#28 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 11:01 AM | Reply

If you didn't vote against Trump, and for the only candidate who could have defeated Trump then you effectively assisted Trump.
#23 | Posted by Danni at 2019-02-08 10:14 AM

Clinton could have beaten Trump had Johnson voters chosen her. Johnson voters effectively assisted Trump.
Johnson could have beaten Trump had Clinton voters chosen him. Clinton voters effectively assisted Trump.
It seems odd that you believe that everyone who voted for Clinton instead of voting for Johnson (because he would have won had her voters voted for him instead) actually were voting FOR Trump, but really nothing you say any more really approaches a logical conclusion, so my level of surprise at your beliefs remains low.

#29 | Posted by Avigdore at 2019-02-08 11:22 AM | Reply

The term "church" in "separation of church and state" is a reference to all religion.

I don't care how ignorant you or your founding fathers were.

Islam does not have a "church" so pfffttt.

Why are you even posting on a topic you are so ignorant about?

Because I recognize ignorance in you and I am making you painfully aware of it.

That doesn't mean they can't request them anyway

Then they are not Muslims.. just American pretenders.

I'm reluctant to take your claim as true

I'm fine with that. Nothing you believe in or don't believe in can even effect anyone. You aren't important enough. LOL

#30 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-08 11:34 AM | Reply

So you still don't understand what "separation of church and state" means in America?

Cool post, bro.

#31 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 11:35 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#31 | Posted by JOE

Save your words. ------- (sorry I mean J Tremain) is likely just chilling in Orangi town spouting off when his grasp of the English language is lacking - especially American English and especially 200 year old legal variants.

#32 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2019-02-08 11:47 AM | Reply

So you still don't understand what "separation of church and state" means in America?

I understand quite well what "separation of church and state" means in the limited Christian sense.

I get what your bellyache is all about. You want to maintain your separation of "church and state" but Trumpkind is threatening that in your mind.

Well... you clowns shouldn't have elected Trump by a majority then should you have? LOL

just chilling in Orangi town

Orangi is a violent cesspool. Nobody chills there.

his grasp of the English language is lacking

Ha ha ha....

Dumbo.

#33 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-08 12:14 PM | Reply

Trump wasn't elected by a majority, you absolute clown.

#34 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 12:24 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Sez you and the rest of the spawn of that twerking witch.

#35 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-08 12:29 PM | Reply

Trump wasn't elected by a majority, you absolute clown. - #34 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 12:24 PM
304-227 certainly seems like a majority of electoral votes. Would you care to show your math?

#36 | Posted by avigdore at 2019-02-08 12:44 PM | Reply

I meant a majority of voters.

What do you think of this Supreme Court decision?

#37 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 12:55 PM | Reply

The stay? It's a pretty practical solution to give time for a real case to be heard. I applaud them stopping the implementation of this bill until an actual decision is reached by the justices. I see no reason to inflict any negative outcome of a bill which may be found to be unconstitutional. Determining the constitutionality first seems like a nice conservative position.

#38 | Posted by Avigdore at 2019-02-08 01:12 PM | Reply

Grr...now I've switched up the stay from the abortion law case with this death row case. I need to stop drudgeing at work, sorry.
I think that it is petty to prevent a person from having their last rights regardless of the religion involved. We should be better than petty and vindictive.

#39 | Posted by Avigdore at 2019-02-08 01:14 PM | Reply

I care about separation of church and state, and the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Ok, I say dont have any priest, imam or pastor in the room.

That fixes that.

#40 | Posted by boaz at 2019-02-08 01:27 PM | Reply

#40 So you disagree with the conservative majority of the Court which upheld Alabama's enforcement of a law that only allows a Christian Chaplain in the room?

#41 | Posted by JOE at 2019-02-08 01:35 PM | Reply

If you didn't it is on your conscience forever.

#14 | POSTED BY DANNI

I didn't vote for Trump or Clinton, and I sleep just fine. Considering that my state went for Hillary anyway, my vote didn't make a damn bit of difference either way. My state is on the verge of passing legislation to give the winner of the popular vote our electoral votes.

thehill.com

What's Florida doing?

We can look forward to a lifetime of disgusting decisions like this one. If you voted for Trump, supported a corrupt Democratic campaign led by Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile, or didn't vote at all, go ---- yourself.

#6 | POSTED BY GAL_TUESDAY

FTFY

#42 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2019-02-08 02:43 PM | Reply

"Ray was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl
And we should care about this person's comfort... WHY????
#8 | POSTED BY J_TREMAIN"

Because we're supposed to be better than people who rape and murder 15 year old girls.

But I'm fully aware this concept doesn't make sense to people in Pakistan and Texas alike.

#43 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-02-08 07:50 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

SNOOFY

"Because we're supposed to be better than people who rape and murder 15 year old girls."

Right! I don't see the harm in allowing this man a small moment of spiritual consolation as he was about to die. This decision sounds almost vindictive ~ as if execution wasn't enough.

#44 | Posted by Twinpac at 2019-02-08 10:52 PM | Reply

"vindictive"

That sounds like the American justice system to me.

I know a guy who spent his entire 20s in prison in East Germany.
They didn't torture him. He was a political prisoner but he was occasionally allowed to go home for birthdays and stuff.
Compare that to how we treat our political prisoners in Guantanamo.

#45 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-02-08 11:04 PM | Reply

Add Hobby-Lobby to that #4.

Thread should have been over at #4.

#46 | Posted by YAV at 2019-02-08 11:18 PM | Reply

And we should care about this person's comfort... WHY????

#8 | POSTED BY J_TREMAIN AT 2019-02-08 08:43 AM | REPLY |

Because we are human beings, and better than evil people.

presumably.

#47 | Posted by Alexandrite at 2019-02-09 11:03 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Republicans on the Supreme Court will bend over backwards to protect a Christian from the travesty of having to serve a gay customer, but when it comes to a textbook Establishment Clause violation that fundamentally harms a Muslim, they devote one paragraph to denying his claim on a technicality that doesn't even exist.

We can look forward to a lifetime of disgusting decisions like this one. If you voted for Trump, or didn't vote at all, go ---- yourself.

#4 | POSTED BY JOE AT 2019-02-08 08:05 AM | FLAG:

You win the thead, dude.

And you know a decision is bad if thomas is writing it. he's so underehelming.

ps- his wife is even worse.

#48 | Posted by Alexandrite at 2019-02-09 11:07 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Because we are human beings, and better than evil people.

Are we?

Are we better?

The whole act of execution is designed to terrorize the executee before he or she dies. We can pretend that lethal injections are quick and painless (they are not) or cyanide gas is so fast it is painless (it is not) or that the electric chair is efficient (if you like burnt steak).... the fact is, executions are an act of public vengeance while pretending to be "civilized".

If we were REALLY civilized we would dispatch the condemned man without pain or distress in a few minutes very cheaply. We would do it like we put pigs to sleep in UK... a mixture of Nitrogen, Argon and something else.. breathed in, is not poisonous but it doesn't give you oxygen either. You go to sleep and never wake up. You don't even get short of breath while dying... the gasping reflex never kicks in.

THAT is civilized and does not hurt. But we would never do that.

#49 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-09 12:52 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

So if we are worried about being the bad guy.. hey guess what... we already ARE the bad guy.

Not giving a Muslim access to a bloody Mulla is the least of our sins, believe me.

#50 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-09 12:55 PM | Reply

j tremain-

i dont find state sanctioned killing to be civilized at all, regardless of method.

#51 | Posted by Alexandrite at 2019-02-09 12:57 PM | Reply

#49 that sounds more humane to me than 23 hours in isolation and 1 hour alone in the yard. Day after day year after year.

#51 I am against state sanctioned killing generally but there are cases where I'd open the nitrogen gas valve without compunction or an evil thought.

#52 | Posted by bruceaz at 2019-02-09 01:35 PM | Reply

youtu.be

#53 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-09 02:08 PM | Reply

en.wikipedia.org

In April 2015, the Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill authorizing nitrogen asphyxiation as an alternative execution method in cases where the state's preferred method of lethal injection was not available as an option. In March 2018, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh announced a switch to nitrogen gas as the primary method of execution.
--------------
Wow... didn't know that. Well done Oklahoma.
--------------

When humans breathe in an asphyxiant gas, such as pure nitrogen, helium, neon, argon, sulfur hexafluoride, methane, or any other physiologically inert gas(es), they exhale carbon dioxide without re-supplying oxygen. Physiologically inert gases (those that have no toxic effect, but merely dilute oxygen) are generally free of odor and taste. As such, the human subject detects little abnormal sensation as the oxygen level falls.

Suddenly breathing pure inert gas causes oxygen levels in the blood to fall precipitously, and may lead to unconsciousness in only a few breaths, with no symptoms at all.

Accidental nitrogen asphyxiation is a possible hazard where large quantities of nitrogen are used. It causes several deaths per year in the United States, which is asserted to be more than from any other industrial gas. In one accident in 1981, shortly before the launch of the first Space Shuttle mission, five technicians lost consciousness and two of them died after they entered the Orbiter aft compartment. Nitrogen had been used to flush oxygen from the compartment as a precaution against fire. They were not wearing air packs because of a last minute change in safety procedures.

#54 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-10 07:07 AM | Reply

In March 2018, Alabama became the third state (along with Oklahoma and Mississippi), to authorize the use of nitrogen asphyxiation as a method of execution.

#55 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-10 07:09 AM | Reply

i dont find state sanctioned killing to be civilized at all, regardless of method.

Even though I am pro-execution, as a Muslim, I know the Koran does not fully support execution.

In case of murder or terrorism, the punishments are:

1. Crucifixion... which is execution (and a spectacle).
2. Amputation of one arm and opposite leg... then guy is freed.
3. Permanent Exile.. which can mean jail for life in the modern context... where he enjoys meals at tax-payers expense.

So two out of three options do not involve killing. It is up to a society to choose what they like.

You would obviously choose the last one.

#56 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2019-02-10 07:22 AM | Reply

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