In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the use of midazolam in executions does not violate the ban on "cruel and unusual punishment."
"The death penalty is extremely expensive, it puts innocent lives at risk, it's hard on victims' families, and it gives government another unnecessary power."
Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to abolish the death penalty by a big enough margin to override a threatened veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
The measure passed 32-15 in the state's unicameral Legislature. It would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison.
If lawmakers override the expected veto, Nebraska would become the first conservative state to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
After a judge sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings, religious leaders in that city found themselves on both sides of the issue.
Just Catholic: The United States of America is going to kill Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the "Boston bomber." What does this say about us?
Reaction was mixed to the May 15 jury sentencing of death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Tsarnaev had been convicted April 8 of all 30 counts lodged against him in the bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds. Of those 30 counts, 17 carried the death penalty, and jurors imposed the death sentence on six of those -- all in connection with placing a bomb on Boylston Street along the marathon route.
A jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts related to the April 15, 2013, bomb attacks and four-day manhunt.
Sr. Helen Prejean said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is "genuinely sorry for what he did" and told her how he felt about the suffering he caused to the bombing's victims.
It's a tough world we live in. But when the toughness, the injustice, is supported by U.S. policy, then the suffering we see others endure is ours to suffer with them. This isn't God's doing. It's our doing, and so it is up to us to recognize the wrongs done in our name and, as best we can, stand against them.
Virginia's bishops called on Catholics in the state's two dioceses to step up to change the debate about the use of the death penalty.
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington said it was time to shift the conversation from who should be executed and how to execute people to why the death penalty continues to be applied, especially when other means to protect society without taking a human life exist.