Wednesday, March 26, 2008
SCOTUS Watch: Medellin v. Texas
I do not claim to be a Constitutional Law scholar (unlike Barack Hussein Obama, apologist for racists and terrorists), but I am glad to see the Supreme Court come down on the side of reason on Medellin v. Texas.

In case you are unaware, Medellin v. Texas is the criminal case of Jose Ernesto Medellin who was convicted in Texas of rape and murder. Medellin was found guilty in a Texas state court and was sentenced to death. And thus began his appeals process.

The issue that took him to the Supreme Court is not one that he brought up in his original trial, and yet, it bears on international relations and international courts. You see, Medellin is an illegal alien. He came to the United States illegally, and then chose to spend his time in the US breaking her laws and committing crimes against her law-abiding citizens.

But, Medellin argued, the State of Texas refused him access to his country's consular officials. Essentially, the argument goes, that being denied access to Mexican diplomats flies in the face of international courts and treaties. The World Court says that people arrested abroad are entitled to this diplomatic counsel. Muddying the waters in the dispute is the fact that President Bush sent a memo to Texas requesting that the courts give effect to the World Court in this matter.

Fifty other illegal aliens on death row, all also denied diplomatic counsel, have been waiting on tenterhooks to see if the Supreme Court would rule for a new trial for Medellin (and them as well by default).

Unfortunately for these individuals, but fortunate for States' Rights, the Supreme Court found in favor of Texas.

The Court found, quite rightly I believe, that the President doesn't get to send a memo and interfere in state justice matters, at least not without an act of Congress. There were no other issues with Medellin's criminal trial, and so the court seems to indicate that state justice must not be intruded upon by the world court. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the decision that the Executive Branch may not "establish binding rules of decision that pre-empt contrary state law."
All told, this is great news for States Rights as it recognizes that the ruling law of this land is the Constitution and the laws enacted by Congress, not the whimsies of an international body.

In my opinion, Medellin's argument was weakened by one single fact - his illegal status in this country. I could see the validity of his claims had Medellin been in this country legally. Had he gone through the legal steps and proper procedures of entering the United States, I would say that he is eligible for such diplomatic counsel as a courtesy, but not as any sort of binding legal element. However, the fact that he showed little respect for this country's laws disinclines me to grant him any special privileges.

From all accounts, he came to this country illegally by choice and as such, has eschewed any claim to the counsel of a country he has unlawfully departed. Indeed, by coming to this country illegally, one could argue that he committed fraud, claiming lawful US citizenship. In my opinion, he should be made to sleep in the bed he made for himself. Indeed, he seems to prefer the US to his native home of Mexico, so claiming some sort of status after his hand has been caught in the cookie jar...has no merit in my eyes.

The individual justice systems in the 50 states, as well as that of the Federal Government, are among the most fair and defendant-friendly in the world. Claiming an inequity because he was denied access to a diplomat is simply ridiculous. He had legal counsel, likely paid for by Texas taxpayers, and that is what matters. He had the regular rights afforded to all defendants in Texas justice; claiming an exemption or special status because you broke immigration laws as well doesn't sit well with me.

The MSM, in its liberal bias way, is painting this SCOTUS decision as a defeat for President Bush. However, the Bush Administration didn't so much agree with the World Court as much as they tried to enforce it. And, insofar as "enforcement" goes, a memo is kind of weak.

I don't really think their heart was in it.

So, less than a failure for the Bush Administration, this is a victory for the states who have just been given notice that the Supreme Court, and, more importantly, international courts, will not be permitted to arbitrarily interfere in the states' criminal prosecutions. Good news!

There is also a take-home message for illegal aliens too: Come to this country illegally, commit crimes to harm US Citizens, you are going to be treated to the full effect of criminal justice.

Much more to be found on this matter at SCOTUSblog.


posted by Phoenix | 9:14 AM


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