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The Latest: US may take federal execution case to high court

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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2019 file photo, a view of the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington. A federal judge in the District of Columbia has temporarily halted the first federal execution in 16 years as a lawsuit on how the government intends to carry it out continues. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON, DC – The Latest on federal executions (all times local):

6 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr tells The Associated Press he will take the Trump administration’s bid to restart federal executions after a 16-year hiatus to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Barr’s comments came hours after a district court judge temporarily blocked the administration’s plans to start executions next month. The administration is appealing the decision, and Barr says he will take the case to the high court if Thursday’s ruling stands.

He says the five inmates set to be executed are a small number of the 62 death row inmates.

The first federal execution was set for Dec. 9, with four others to quickly follow.

The inmates argue that the government is circumventing proper methods in order to wrongly execute inmates quickly.

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8:30 a.m.

A judge has temporarily halted the first federal executions in 16 years, saying death row inmates scheduled to be executed are likely to win their legal challenge.

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan said in a Wednesday evening ruling that the public is not served by “short-circuiting” legitimate judicial process.

“It is greatly served by attempting to ensure that the most serious punishment is imposed lawfully,” she wrote.

The Justice Department said it will appeal Chutkan’s decision.