LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ attempt to carry out its first execution in nearly 12 years wasn’t thwarted by the type of liberal activist judge Republicans regularly bemoan here. Instead, the action came from a state Supreme Court that’s been the focus of expensive campaigns by conservative groups to reshape the judiciary.
The court voted 4-3 Monday night to stay the executions of two inmates, who were part of an unprecedented plan to put eight men to death in 11 days. The ruling was the latest setback from a high court that has consistently impeded this deeply Republican state’s effort to resume capital punishment in recent years.
Conservative groups spent heavily last year to back two candidates in Supreme Court races. Both won. But one of those justices voted to block the executions.