Horns Down for April 3: execution drug disclosure and campaign contribution limits removed


Horns Down: Execution drug ruling overturned

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday ordering the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to disclose all information on the process used to procure execution drugs, which includes both the supplier of the drug and any testing involved. However, that decision was quickly overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Thursday’s scheduled execution will proceed as planned. Texas’ criminal justice department has consistently refused to reveal any of the information about the drugs’ origins, arguing that such a disclosure would threaten the manufacturer. Refusing to disclose detailed information about the drug used to execute Texas prisoners on death row seems to be a clear violation of constitutional rights, and Gilmore was right to push the criminal justice department to increase the transparency of the execution process. It’s deeply disappointing that the circuit court has overturned what would have been a step toward greater justice for inmates.

Horns Down: campaign contribution limits struck down

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court announced its decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, striking down 40-year-old overall campaign contribution limits in what is the most significant campaign finance ruling since 2010’s Citizens United. It is important to note that the court only struck down the limit on overall contributions made to multiple candidates. The limit on how much an individual can donate to one particular candidate still stands. While the previous overall cap of $123,000 per election cycle was so high that it affected only the wealthiest Americans, this ruling means even more money could find its way into the political sphere. While the relationship between money, politics and corruption is certainly complex, horns down to the fact that the court’s decision could make it easier to buy influence in America’s electoral process.


Editor's Note: The first brief in this article has been updated to reflect the news that the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned an earlier injunction to halt the execution. Accordingly, it has also been changed from a Horns Up to a Horns Down.