Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The High Court gets another one right

From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court yesterday issued a broad ruling limiting presidential power and the reach of international treaties, saying neither President Bush nor the World Court has the authority to order a Texas court to reopen a death penalty case involving a foreign national.

The justices held 6 to 3 that judgments of the International Court of Justice, as the court is formally known, are not binding on U.S. courts and that Bush's 2005 executive order that courts in Texas comply anyway does not change that.

The decision, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., was a rebuke to the government in a case that involved the powers of all three branches of government, the intricacies of treaties and the international debate over the death penalty.

It placed the president on the side of Ernesto Medell¿n, a brutal murderer, and the rulings of the World Court, and against the authority of his home state's courts.

Texas's high court had rejected the World Court's judgment that it "review and reconsider" Medell¿n's conviction because he is a Mexican national and was not advised after his arrest that he could meet with a consular from his country, as the Vienna Convention requires.

Even though the administration disagreed with the World Court's decision -- and has withdrawn from the international pact that gave it force -- Bush nonetheless issued a memorandum ordering the Texas courts to rehear Medell¿n's case.

But Roberts wrote that neither the Optional Protocol of the Vienna Convention nor the operative part of the United Nations Charter creates binding law in the absence of implementing legislation from Congress.

And he wrote that the government had not made the case that Bush had the power to issue a directive that "reaches deep into the heart of the state's police powers and compels state courts to reopen final criminal judgments and set aside neutrally applicable state laws."

Joining Roberts were the justices who are most consistently conservative: Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

President Bush has always been the willing bitch of whichever corrupt graftocrat happens to be the current president of Mexico. Unfortunately John McCain's entire record on US/Mexico relations indicates that if he is elected nothing will change.

Fortunately we have a conservative majority on the Supreme Court which will last even if two or three justices retire over the next four years.