What Next

The First Federal Execution in 17 Years

Daniel Lee was strapped to a gurney for four hours while the Justice Department sought and obtained permission from the Supreme Court to execute him.


Episode Notes

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court authorized the federal government to carry out its first execution in 17 years. Daniel Lee was convicted back in the 1990s of murdering an Arkansas family in a white supremacist plot. Starting last year, Attorney General William Barr pushed for his execution to take place. Why have federal executions resumed under his administration, and what does it mean for the future of the death penalty?

Guest: Mark Joseph Stern covers the courts and the law for Slate.

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.

Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, Danielle Hewitt, and Daniel Avis.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

All episodes


  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.