If the treaty power is unlimited, then we don’t have a Constitution–Thomas Jefferson
Antonio de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron died on June 21, 1876. He was reincarnated on July 6, 1946. The exact same month, day and year George W. Bush was born. This is the only plausible explanation left for Bush’s pathological obsession with Mexico and its citizens–especially those of the illegal persuasion, at the abnegation of America’s sovereignty and national security. George Bush might well be Santa Anna reincarnated. That would explain a lot.
If you can indulge in a moment of fantasy and imagine the Alamo being fought today and Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Colonel Travis et al survived, it would be just a matter of weeks before Bush and his henchman Johnny Sutton, a puppet for the Mexican Consulate, would have them facing the same fate of Ignacio Romos, Jose Compean, Gary Brugman, Noe Aleman and Gilmer Hernandez. If you are unfamiliar with these names, they are just a few of the Border Patrol agents U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, under the command of the Mexican Consulate, prosecuted and sent to prison. Alberto Gonzales and George Bush turned a blind eye to their plight and refused to intervene and allowed the Mexican government to manipulate our justice system.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today about whether a state court should be subordinated to the International Court of Justice. President Bush believes it should be and was represented at the Supreme Court on the opposite side from the state of Texas. The case concerns the case of Jose Ernesto Medellin, the details of the case:
Bush, Texas at odds over death case
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
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 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.
Texas argues strenuously that neither the international court nor Bush, his Texas ties notwithstanding, has any say in Medellin’s case.
Ted Cruz, the Texas solicitor general, said the administration’s position would “allow the president to set aside any state law the president believes is inconvenient to international comity.”
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Wednesday.
Medellin was born in Mexico but spent much of his childhood in the United States. He was 18 in June 1993, when he and other members of the Black and Whites gang in Houston encountered Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena on a railroad trestle as the girls were taking a shortcut home.
Ertman, 14, and Pena, 16, were gang-raped and strangled. Their bodies were found four days later.
Medellin was arrested a few days after the killings. He was told he had a right to remain silent and have a lawyer present, but the police did not tell him that he could request assistance from the Mexican consulate under the 1963 treaty.
Medellin gave a written confession. He was convicted of murder in the course of a sexual assault, a capital offense in Texas. A judge sentenced him to death in October 1994.
Medellin did not raise the lack of assistance from Mexican diplomats during his trial or sentencing. When he did claim his rights had been violated, Texas and federal courts turned him down because he had not objected at his trial.
Then, in 2003, Mexico sued the United States in the International Court of Justice in The Hague on behalf of Medellin and 50 other Mexicans on death row in the U.S. who also had been denied access to their country’s diplomats following their arrests.
Mexico has no death penalty. Mexico and other opponents of capital punishment have sought to use the court, also known as the World Court, to fight for foreigners facing execution in the U.S.
The international court ruled for Mexico in 2004, saying the sentences and convictions should be reviewed by U.S. courts.
Medellin’s case was rejected by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court agreed to hear his appeal. While it was pending in Washington, Bush issued a memo to his attorney general declaring that state courts must enforce the international court’s ruling.
Two weeks after the memo, Bush said the U.S. was withdrawing from an international accord that lets the world court have the final say when citizens claim they were illegally denied access to their diplomats when they are jailed abroad.
The treaty had been used by the United States in its lawsuit against Iran for taking Americans hostages in 1979.
The Supreme Court weighed in next, dismissing Medellin’s case while state courts reviewed Bush’s order. Texas courts again ruled against Medellin, saying Bush overstepped his authority by intruding into the affairs of the independent judiciary.
In April, the Supreme Court stepped in for a second time, putting Bush and the state he governed on opposite sides and setting up an unusual alliance of interests.
Foreign inmates on death rows in California, Florida,Texas and up to a dozen other states could be affected by the outcome.
Four of Medellin’s fellow gang members also received the death penalty and one, Sean O’Brien, was executed last year. Two others had their death sentences commuted to life in prison in 2005 when the Supreme Court barred executions for those who were age 17 at the time of their crimes. Another defendant does not have an execution date.
A sixth participant, Medellin’s brother, Vernancio, was 14 at the time. He was tried as a juvenile and is serving 40 years in prison.
Ertman’s parents said they want to see the older Medellin brother put to death, pointing out in court papers that his case has been going on longer than their daughter lived.
The case will be decided sometime in Spring. Until then, there were a few noteworthy comments by the justices today. Keep in mind that Kennedy is the court’s swing vote:
Justice Antonin Scalia, said he saw a constitutional problem with “giving an international body the authority to determine U.S. federal law. I am rather jealous of that authority. I don’t know on what basis we allow an international court to decide the content of American law.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., said the effect of the Bush Administration’s defense of the presidential order that states obey a World Court ruling would be that “the President can take any treaty that is not self-executing and make it binding under federal law.”
If the World Court’s judgment on the Mexican nationals’ legal rights here were binding federal law inside the U.S., Roberts wondered, would the Justices have any authority to second-guess the content of that law? “We would have no authority to review the judgment itself?” he asked with notable skepticism.
And Kennedy twice raised concerns about whether the President could “displace the authority” of the Court to interpret judgments of the World Court.
Who is this International Court of Justice and what are the consequences if Bush wins this case at the Supreme Court? The International Court of Justice is the judicial arm of the highly ethical, incorruptible and unreproachable United Nations. If Texas loses this case, it would transfer our judicial sovereignty to the U.N. and the U.S. would be under the control, in a judicial capacity, to the corrupt third world countries that dominate the U.N. The consequences are innumerable. Not only would our laws have to pass constitutional muster, but also be subjected and subordinated to the corrupt ideology that infects the U.N. and its tentacles, especially the International Court of Justice.
As usual with Bush, his conservative hypocrisy runs deep in his latest dissolution of national sovereignty. Bush issued a memorandum in 2005 to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding that all states submit to the decision of the International Court of Justice in regards to cases involving citizens of foreign countries. Within two weeks Bush had rescinded that order and stated that the U.S. was withdrawing from the accord that would allow the International Court of Justice to have the final say when another country’s citizen claims they were denied access to their country’s diplomats. He has since stated that he plans to ignore any similar situation concerning state courts and the International Court of Justice because he does not agree with their interpretation of the Vienna Convention.
He wants to make an exception with the case of Medellin, most assuredly because of his Mexican nationality, because he fears by not doing so it will harm American interests abroad. No group, organization or assemblage of humanity could possibly do as much damage as Bush has singlehandedly done to harm American interests abroad.
Bush presided over 152 executions while Governor of Texas–32 during 1999. If he could be compared to anyone from the formative years of Texas justice, it would have to be “Hanging Judge Roy Bean.” This is not meant to impugn Bush and the death penalty during his tenure as Governor of Texas. It is what it is and the law is the law. That should be good enough for anyone who believes in the rule of law. The problem is Bush’s inability to follow the rule of law since becoming president.
Again he parallels Judge Roy Bean in regards to a murder case that Bean presided over. An Irishman killed a Chinese worker. After perusing his law book, Bean who used his pistol as a gavel, rapped the bar, he stated to the court, “Gentlemen, I find the law very explicit on murdering your fellow man, but there’s nothing here about killing a Chinaman. Case dismissed.” This encompasses Bush’s view on Mexico, illegal aliens and the rule of law.
The one case that stood out from all the 152 executions was the case of Karla Faye Tucker. On February 3rd of 1998, the State of Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker for her part in two extremely brutal murders she committed in 1983. The Supreme Court rejected last minute appeals for clemency or stays and George Bush ordered the execution to proceed on time. He stated that her case had been reviewed to his satisfaction. He stated that, “I have concluded judgments about the heart and soul of an individual on Death Row are best left to a higher authority.”
I am not a hand wringing, anti-death penalty proponent. The current court cases alleging that lethal injections are cruel and unusual punishment are baseless and nothing more than last ditch efforts for the anti-death penalty defects to abolish it. But the case of Karla Faye Tucker was different. The execution of Karla Faye Tucker was the execution of a different person than the one who committed the crimes. She was a genuinely changed person. Bush received thousands of messages urging clemency for Tucker, including one from one of his daughters. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, strong advocates of execution, urged him to commute Tucker’s sentence. Pope John Paul II urged Bush to grant mercy to Tucker.
There are no excuses for her crimes, but if anyone deserved to have their sentence commuted to life without parole, it was her. Bush never considered it. He balked at granting a 30 day stay of execution so the death penalty in this case could be reconsidered. Perhaps Karla Faye Tucker’s fate to be executed, rather than spending the rest of her life in prison, was one of nationality. If she had been an illegal alien from Mexico her fate might have ended up differently.
This is not an apologetic discourse for Karla Faye Tucker nor is it an admonishment of the death penalty in Texas under Bush’s watch. It merely manifests the phrase he stated, “I have concluded judgments about the heart and soul of an individual on Death Row are best left to a higher authority.” Conventional wisdom would have thought he was referring to God, but he was obviously referring to the U.N.