President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to announce his nomination to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Leftwing Attack on Neil Gorsuch is That He Did Not Cry Over a Murderer’s Execution

The left has predictably swung into action against Neil Gorsuch and predictably, they are making an argument that resonates with extreme elements of the leftwing base, but does not resonate at all with Middle America. The left is on a crusade to abolish the death penalty. One of the ways they have done that is to pressure drug makers to stop making drugs used in lethal executions. The result is that on more than one occasion a murderer has suffered during his execution. One such murderer was named Clayton Lockett.

On June 3, 1999,

[a]t around 10:30 p.m. Bobby Bornt was asleep on the couch at his house in Perry, Oklahoma, when his front door was kicked in. Clayton Lockett, Shawn Mathis and Alfonzo Lockett entered his house and immediately started beating and kicking him. Lockett was carrying a shotgun which he used to hit Bornt.

After the beating, duct tape was used to secure his hands behind his back and they gagged him and left him on the couch while they ransacked the house looking for drugs. As Bornt lay restrained, his friend, Summer Hair, approached the open door. She was pulled inside, hit in the face and thrown against a wall. One of the men put a gun to her head and ordered her to call to her friend, Stephanie Neiman, who was outside sitting in her pickup. When Neiman came inside, they hit her several times to get the keys to her pickup. They were bound with duct tape and put in the bedroom where Bornt’s nine-month old son, Sam, had been sleeping. Hair was forcibly raped and sodomized by all three men. They were then loaded into the pickup trucks of Bornt and Nieman and driven to a remote rural location. Hair was again raped in a ditch by Clayton Lockett and Mathis, who told her “In order for you to live, this is what you have got to do.”

Clayton Lockett instructed Mathis to dig a grave and said :”Someone has got to go.” Neiman was taken to the hole dug by Mathis. When she refused to promise that she would not go to the police, Clayton Lockett shot her. The gun jammed, but he fixed it, returned and shot her again. While Mathis buried Neiman, Bornt and Hair were warned that if they told anyone they would be killed too. They then drove both pickups and dropped off Bornt, his son and Hair at Bornt’s house and they left in Bornt’s pickup. The following day, Bornt and Hair told the Perry police what had happened. Neiman’s pickup and her body were recovered and all three men were subsequently arrested. Clayton Lockett ultimately confessed to police.

No one, not even Clayton Lockett, disputed that Lockett had murdered Miss Neiman. At his execution, the IV used to administer lethal drugs had not been inserted properly. The state of Oklahoma called off the execution, but Lockett died anyway from the injection. His family sued claiming the execution had been cruel and unusual punishment.

A three judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. The panel ruled that “the Eighth Amendment does not require ‘the avoidance of all risk of pain in carrying out executions.’” Further, the court found that Oklahoma had not been “deliberately indifferent” in handling the execution. Mind you, Gorsuch did not write the opinion, but he joined it.

Because Neil Gorsuch would not punish Oklahoma for making a good faith effort at administering the death penalty to a murderer, the left thinks he is disqualified from the Supreme Court. Personally, I think that makes him even more qualified as an activist left, along with activist judges on the Supreme Court, try to abolish the death penalty.

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Erick Erickson

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