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A view of the Supreme Court on September 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court granted a stay of execution on Wednesday night for a Texas inmate who wants his preacher physically by his side praying for him at the time of his lethal injection.

Why it matters, via the Washington Post: "The request by John Henry Ramirez, 37, is the latest conflict over when a death row inmate’s spiritual requests conflict with the security and decorum prison officials say is needed during an execution."

  • The order marks the third time in the past two years that the Supreme Court has halted an execution in Texas execution "over the state prison system's rules on how religious advisers can attend to condemned prisoners as they die," the Texas Tribune notes.

The big picture Ramirez was convicted of the 2008 murder and robbery of Pablo Castro, a 46-year-old convenience store clerk in Corpus Christi.

  • Prison officials rejected his request to have his pastor by his side, praying aloud and touching him when he's executed. His lawyer argues that this is a violation of his First Amendment rights to practice his religion.
  • The Supreme Court issued the order nearly three hours before Ramirez was due to die.

What's next: The court directed its clerk in its brief order to establish a schedule that will allow the case to be argued this October or November.

Go deeper

Texas urges Supreme Court to leave abortion ban in place

Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to keep in place a law that bans abortions after an embryo's cardiac activity is detected, which can be as soon as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant.

Driving the news: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the high court to ignore the Justice Department's emergency request that they temporarily block the law while federal courts consider its constitutionality since it "lacks standing because it has not been injured by SB 8."

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.