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Sunday, October 07, 2007



Bush, Texas at odds over death case reads the headline of this AP article by Mark Sherman.

WASHINGTON - To put it bluntly, Texas wants President Bush to get out of the way of the state's plan to execute a Mexican for the brutal killing of two teenage girls.

Bush, who presided over 152 executions as governor of Texas, wants to halt the execution of Jose Ernesto Medellin in what has become a confusing test of presidential power that the Supreme Court, which hears the case this week, ultimately will sort out.

The president wants to enforce a decision by the International Court of Justice that found the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican-born prisoners violated their rights to legal help as outlined in the 1963 Vienna Convention.

That is the same court Bush has since said he plans to ignore if it makes similar decisions affecting state criminal laws.

"The president does not agree with the ICJ's interpretation of the Vienna Convention," the administration said in arguments filed with the court. This time, though, the U.S. agreed to abide by the international court's decision because ignoring it would harm American interests abroad, the government said.

I then came across High Court Case Pits Texas Against Bush and International Court of Justiceby Randy Hall of CNSNEWS.COM. There is a little more detail which helps illustrate why this latest action by "The Decider" is so disconcerting.

However, Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, told Cybercast News Service on Monday that the case is intriguing for legal scholars, because it deals with the law on both international and federal levels.

Rulings from the ICJ "are not self-executing," he said, and depend on local and national governments to enforce them.

As a result, the case may turn on the "swing vote" often being cast by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy and whether he wants the U.S. and the Supreme Court to be thought of highly in other countries. "After all," Shapiro said, "his decision might only result in one more hearing" for Medellin and the other Mexicans facing a death sentence in the U.S.

Nevertheless, Shapiro said that "not only is this a case of federal leaders trying to commandeer state government," it is also an example of "the executive branch trying to tell the judicial branch what to do."

"Ultimately, the ruling should go against the president," he added.

Let us hope so. It is established fact that two teenage girls were kidnapped, repeatedly raped, and then murdered in the most brutal manner. The perpetrators were tried and convicted. Most were sentenced to death as per Texas law. Two had their sentences commuted to life because they were not yet 18 at the time of the crime. Jose Medillin, however, confessed; was convicted, and after 4 years on death row discovered how "Mexican" he was.

There are three avenues being traveled here.

One, exactly how sovereign is the United States if a state's criminal justice system, including its judiciary, is to be determined by a foreign court?

Two, what is an equal protection clause when a foreigner, upon illegally entering the United States commits a crime, and then is entitled to consular assistance IN ADDITION TO the constitutional process guaranteed everyone else?

Three, how intelligent, or dangerous is it for a president to hold the power of dictating to states?

This time, though, the U.S. agreed to abide by the international court's decision because ignoring it would harm American interests abroad, the government said.

"This time, though"..????? Just what the hell does THAT mean? I don't recall reading anything about the inmates at Guantanamo having consular officers assisting them. Nor do I remember anything about consular officers assisting anyone taken to the secret prisons. The Bush administrations reaction to any International Court of Justice condemnation of said programs can be condensed to a simple "kiss off."

The first two questions will be dealt with by lawyers. Their decisions will affect us all but there isn't much we can do, as our "representatives" oversee the installment of the judges who make the final call.

Yet what difference does it make if we have a president who has stuffed Congress into a closet, shredded the Constitution, and declared himself the ONLY one with true decision-making powers? George W. Bush is not concerned with any international court. Nor is he concerned with any domestic court, or state court, or state government. No, he is concerned with placating, once again, the mafiosi who call themselves the Mexican government.

Bear in mind that the Mexican government sued the United States over the treatment of Jose Medillin and 53 other (now, all of the sudden) Mexican citizens on death row.

I believe it was current Mexican President Felipe Calderon who said, “I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico,” he said. “And, for this reason, the government action on behalf of our countrymen is guided by principles, for the defense and protection of their rights.”

And so also is Mexican justice. Yet what is forgotten in all this are the graves of two teenage girls who were brutally raped, brutally murdered, their bodies left like trash until discovered four days later.

What an inconsiderate inconvenience when the dead cry out for justice from their government. THEIR government, not someone else's.

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