President Obama well may have begun another undeclared war -- this time on states that try to enforce their own death penalty laws -- on the dubious grounds that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved drugs intended to kill convicted killers.
On March 15, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized Georgia's supply of sodium thiopental, the first drug given under the three-drug lethal injection protocol used in most of the country's 34 death-penalty states.
Why? The DEA referred me to the Department of Justice, which sent an e-mail declining to comment. News reports indicate that the feds had concerns that the drugs were imported improperly.
In the meantime, defense attorneys for convicted killers have been happy to chat with the press about what they call the illegal purchase of the drug. They never give up. First, international death penalty opponents blocked foreign manufacture of lethal injection drugs. Then, they put so much pressure on the industry that U.S. manufacturer Hospira stopped making it. As the supply dried up, states scrambled to get remaining doses and turned to a British wholesaler. That created another opening.