Madison v Alabama was argued earlier today. The above link is to Amy Howe’s analysis, which I think is right on.
The case involves an inmate who because of a series of stroke’s, no longer remembers the crime for which he was sentenced to death.
There is absolutely zero chance that Madison will prevail outright. That hope died with Kennedy’s retirement.
The four liberal justices are willing to grant a limited victory in favor of Madison. Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch clearly would rule outright for Alabama.
So this comes down to what the Chief Justice decides to do.
If he sides with the conservatives, the court will deadlock 4 to 4 and Alabama wins by default, since they prevailed at the lower court.
However, it is quite possible that the Chief Justice will side with the liberal justices to send the case down on remand to the lower courts to determine the broader question of Madison’s competency, something that evidently was not fully explored earlier. It would be a reprieve, rather than a victory for Madison, as I suspect the Alabama court’s will find in Alabama’s favor and this case could end up back before the Supreme Court in the next term. If it does, I suspect Madison will likely die of natural causes before it is ever resolved.
If the court deadlocks (i.e. Alabama prevails by default), there is at least a plausible chance that Madison is actually executed, though from my understanding of his general health, time is running out.
I think a decision in this case could come down fairly quickly, in fact, this could be one of the first cases decided this term.