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US seeks high court permission to resume federal executions

FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2019, file photo, Attorney General William Barr speaks with members of the press before participating in a law enforcement roundtable at the Flathead County Sheriff's Posse in Evergreen, Mont. An appeals court is upholding a ruling that blocked the federal government’s plan to restart federal executions next week after a 16-year hiatus. The order was handed down Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Justice Department asked the court to vacate or stay an injunction put in place by a district court judge. Attorney General William Barr has said he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday for permission to begin executing federal inmates as soon as next week.

The Justice Department said in a filing late Monday that lower courts were wrong to put the executions on hold.

Attorney General William Barr announced during the summer that federal executions would resume after a 16-year hiatus. The first execution by lethal injection had been set for Dec. 9.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, D.C., temporarily halted the executions after some of the chosen inmates challenged the new execution procedures in court. Chutkan agreed with the inmates that the government was circumventing proper methods in a quest to carry out executions quickly.

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The federal appeals court in Washington on Monday denied the administration’s plea to put Chutkan’s ruling on hold and allow the executions to proceed.

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This story has been corrected to show the appeals court ruling upheld the lower court’s decision that temporarily blocks executions.

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