Saturday, 7 April 2007

Medellin case due up soon

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Medellin case due up soon

Posted by Lyle Denniston at 05:26 PM

The Supreme Court will take up a new test of presidential authority at its private Conference on April 20, in the case of Medellin v. Texas (06-984). That schedule is indicated on the Court's electronic docket. With the U.S. government joining lawyers for a Mexican national in urging the Justices to take on the case, the chances of review appear enhanced. The case was at the Court once before, but did not result in a ruling on the key issues now at stake.

The case involves the attempt by President Bush to have Texas state courts abide by a ruling of the World Court that the United States, and some of its states, have violated the Vienna Convention on the right of foreign nationals arrested and prosecuted for crime in the U.S. to meet with a diplomat from their home country. An earlier post recounting the government's arguments and the state of Texas; response can be found here.

Briefing in the new case was completed on Wednesday, with the filing of the reply brief for Jose Ernesto Medellin. "A state court," that brief argued, "should not have the final word on whether the United States as a nation abides by its treaty obligations....No one disputes that the Texas court's decision [against Medellin and rejecting presidential authority] stands in the way of the President's efforts to comply with that obligation. It is the unique role of this Court, as the final authority on questions of federal law, to protect the federal government's constitutional power to enter into enforceable treaties and to conduct the foreign relations of the United States without interference from the courts of the several states."

The brief also disputes arguments by the state of Texas that the case is now moot, and that the Supreme Court has already decided the core issues involved.

Medellin's reply brief can be found here. All of the filings in this case, as well as in the earlier appeal to the Supreme Court can be found at this link.

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