The high court will hear a challenge early next year from two inmates on death row in Kentucky who claim that lethal injection as practiced by the state amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The last time the court considered a challenge to a method of execution was in 1879, when it upheld the use of a firing squad in Utah. Lethal injections, devised as a humane alternative to electrocution and the gas chamber, have come under attack in recent years amid reports the three-drug cocktail doesn’t always work as quickly as intended and inmates are subjected to excruciating pain. A California ruling in the case of Michael Morales resulted in the statewide suspension of executions. The state has proposed resuming them, but a federal judge has yet to rule. The Supreme Court has previously made it easier for death row inmates to contest lethal injections. But until Tuesday, the justices had passed up cases that questioned whether the mix of drugs and the way they are administered in three dozen states violate the Constitution. EXECUTION: Inmates claim method used in most states is cruel and unusual punishment. By Mark Sherman THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to take a hard look at the method of lethal injection most states use to put inmates to death in a case that could further slow the pace of executions. The appeal was among 17 new cases the court accepted for its term that begins Monday. The other high-profile appeal granted Tuesday is a challenge to the constitutionality of a voter photo identification law in Indiana. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!