So the justices found themselves in the unenviable position of having to ask what alternatives might be available should they rule Midalzolam, whose efficacy was in question, as unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment. That amendment prohibits the "infliction" of "cruel and unusual punishments." Now, for my money, the scheme in Oklahoma and several other states certainly qualifies as "unusual." But the Constitution, being typically vague, provides little assistance. Those attorneys seeking to make capital punishment harder to administer (as Justice Alito rightly noted this case was simply a backdoor attempt at eliminating capital punishment) were faced with questions from the justices demanding to know what alternatives they might suggest should the Oklahoma protocol be invalidated. Shooting? Hanging? (Both of these eliminated because of the negative effects on the bystanders.) Back to the electric chair? (The gas chamber has been eliminated most everywhere thanks to its association with the Nazi gas chambers. "The prison warden [in Arizona in 1992] stated that he would quit if required to conduct another gas chamber execution [after having watched the length of time it took the prisoner to die.])* The search for a "humane" (euphemism for one that doesn't have a negative effect on the bystanders!) continues and the court is caught in the middle.
They should have let Furman v Georgia stand and saved themselves a lot of trouble.