In August, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a Republican, asked the court to allow the state to execute by gas Kenneth Smith, convicted of murder in 1998.
The deadly defilement includes putting a mask on the face of the convict, connected to a nitrogen cylinder, so that it is deprived of oxygen.
Smith, 58, is one of only two people on death row in the U.S. survived an execution attemptafter the state of Alabama failed to carry out his previously scheduled execution by lethal injection in November.
Smith’s lawyers said the gassing protocol, which has not been tested, may violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments” and any second attempt at his execution would be unconstitutional.
In a brief order issued Wednesday, the court, where all of the justices are Republicans, ruled that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey must set a date for Smith’s execution.
Two judges disagreed with this decisionand one has made an escape.
A spokesman for Ivey, who is also a Republican, said her office had not yet set a date.
Smith was one of two men convicted in 1988 of contract killing of Elizabeth Sennett in Alabama.
“The family of Elizabeth Sennett has waited these unimaginable 35 years to see justice,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
“Although the wait has been too long, I am grateful that our capable state judges nearly brought this case to a conclusion.”
Most executions in the US are carried out using lethal doses of barbiturates, but some states are struggling to get the drugs because of a European Union law banning drug companies from selling substances that can be used in prison executions, forcing them to consider other methods.
The states of Oklahoma and Mississippi have also approved executions by nitrogen asphyxiation, but have not yet tried the method.