Lethal injection approved
The Supreme Court this week upheld the constitutionality of lethal injections, the most common form of execution in the U.S. The decision clears the way for states to resume administering the death penalty, following an unofficial seven-month moratorium while the court deliberated. By a 7–2 vote the justices ruled that death-penalty opponents had not proved that inmates could suffer excruciating pain if an anesthetic administered as part of a deadly three-drug “cocktail” failed to work.

Ethics flap at the Smithsonian
A top Smithsonian Institution official has resigned under pressure, after facing numerous ethics complaints. Pilar O’Leary, head of the Smithsonian Latino Center, charged the government for spa visits, sought a federal contract for a friend, and solicited free tickets to fashion shows and concerts, the institute’s inspector general said. O’Leary, 39, denied any wrongdoing. The inspector general reported that O’Leary “acted surprised” when informed that ethics rules barred her from steering contracts to favorites.