WASHINGTON — President Bush, who presided over 152 executions as governor of Texas, wants to halt the state's execution of a Mexican national for the brutal killing of two teenage girls.
The case of Jose Ernesto Medellin has become a confusing test of presidential power that the U.S. 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.
Texas argues that neither the international court nor Bush has any say in Medellin's case.
Now, this Press Release from the Govenor's Office does not directly relate to this case, but it gives you a pretty good idea of how we Texans REALLY feel.
From Governor Perry's Office on August 21, 2007:
Statement by Robert Black, spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, concerning the European Union’s appeal that Texas enact a moratorium on the death penalty:
“230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.”