King George

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

King George

The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration has announced that it is instructing Texas courts to give 51 Mexicans who were denied access to diplomats from their nation, as mandated under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, new hearings.

Apparently they finally realized that protecting the rights of foreigners and enforcing international law might be valuable to US citizens in other countries
Compliance serves to protect the interests of United States citizens abroad, promotes the effective conduct of foreign relations, and underscores the United States' commitment in the international community to the rule of law.
But before we go and get all excited that Bush might finally be learning that there is more to international law than his say-so, beware of this
Bush's nod to international opinion involves a sweeping assertion of executive authority within the United States, in that, without any legislative action by Congress, he is issuing instructions to the courts of a sovereign state as to how to treat defendants. Texas courts, the president says, should review the Mexicans' cases to see if the lack of consular access affected their trials or sentencing.

His approach would also greatly reduce the role of the Supreme Court, which has been asked by attorneys for one of the Mexicans, Jose E. Medellin, to rule that the decision of the World Court is all the authority individual foreigners need to get a new hearing in U.S. state courts.

"It is for the President, not the courts, to determine whether the United States should comply with the decision, and, if so, how," the administration's brief says.
Somewhere along the line President Bush simnply decided that he is solely responsible for determining when international law applies to the US and when it does not.

But I guess we already knew that.

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