WASHINGTON — An appeals court is upholding a ruling that blocked the federal government’s plan to restart federal executions next week after a 16-year hiatus.

The order was handed down Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The Justice Department asked the court to block the injunction put in place by a district court judge. Attorney General William Barr has said he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Barr scheduled the executions of five death-row inmates for December and January. That ended an unofficial decade-long moratorium on federal executions.

A judge temporarily halted the executions after some of the chosen inmates challenged the new execution procedures. The inmates argue the government was circumventing proper methods in order to wrongly execute inmates quickly.

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CORRECTION: This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2019, to correct that the appeals court ruling upheld the lower court’s decision that temporarily blocks executions.

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