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High court sets dates for same-sex marriage, lethal injection arguments

WASHINGTON _ A day after hearing arguments in a monumental case about the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled two more important cases for back-to-back days in April.

On April 28, justices will hear arguments in cases that will decide whether the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to wed.

On April 29, they will hear the Oklahoma case about the drug used to sedate inmates being executed. The case is 14-7955, Glossip v Gross.

The same-sex marriage cases (14-556, 14-562, 14-571 and 14-574) are expected to lead to a landmark ruling that will determine whether there is uniform law nationwide or a state-by-state patchwork.

The high court agreed to decide the issue in January, just months after declining to hear cases from Oklahoma, Utah and other states. The court’s initial refusal meant appeals court rulings against same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma and several other states went into effect. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Oklahoma since October.

The lethal injection case is expected to focus on the drug midazolam, used as a sedative to render the inmate unconscious before the injections of two other drugs.

The Supreme Court agreed in January to examine the use of the drug. The court did not take the case to rule on the death penalty in general or lethal injection as a method of carrying out the death penalty. It has upheld both.

Decisions in both cases are expected sometime before July.

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›