LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas judge disqualified from handling execution cases after participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration says his lawsuit against the state’s highest court should be allowed to move forward.

Attorneys for Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen asked a federal court Tuesday to deny motions by state Supreme Court justices to dismiss his lawsuit challenging his disqualification.

Justices in April barred Griffen from hearing execution cases after he was photographed lying down on a cot outside the governor’s mansion the same day he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug over claims that the state misled a medical supply company. Griffen has said he was portraying Jesus and participating in a prayer vigil.

Griffen has argued the disqualification violated his constitutional rights and a state religious objections law.

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