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July 07, 2011

SCOTUS to POTUS: You're Not Very Good At This Whole Law Thing, Are You?

A child rapist/murderer and the President teamed up last week to ask the Supreme Court to stay the rapist/murderer's execution in Texas so that Congress could have time to consider legislation that would invalidate the murderer's conviction. (As if that would ever pass Congress.) They believe that international law was violated because the criminal was not advised of his right to contact the Mexican consulate when he was arrested. You see, the criminal is an alien.

The relevant background details are here, but I will mention, as a preface to what what you're about to read, that last year, in a separate case, the Supreme Court ruled that, while international law is violated when an alien isn't advised of this treaty right to contact his consulate, domestic law is just honkey-dory with it because Congress never implemented the treaty. So that guy was executed. Since then, Congress has done nothing to implement the treaty.

Cue the smackdown (PDF).

The United States and JUSTICE BREYER complain of the grave international consequences that will follow from Leal’s execution. Congress evidently did not find these consequences sufficiently grave to prompt its enactment of implementing legislation, and we will follow the law as written by Congress. We have no authority to stay an execution in light of an “appeal of the President,” presenting free-ranging assertions of foreign policy consequences, when those assertions come unaccompanied by a persuasive legal claim.

Ouch.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 PM

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