| The April issue of the Suffolk Transnational Law Review has drawn praise from the Council on Foreign Relations for its examination of the Medellin v. Texas U.S. Supreme Court case.
Medellín v. Texas: A Symposium features seven articles on the case, as well as a lengthy introduction by Professor Valerie Epps. One article by Villanova professor John F. Murphy, titled “Medellin v. Texas: Implications of the Supreme Court’s Decision for the United States and the Rule of Law in International Affairs,” was deemed a “must read” on the Council of Foreign Relation’s website.
Mexican national José Medellín was sentenced to death in 1994 for the rape and murder of two girls in Houston. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands, later ruled that Medellin’s conviction denied him certain rights guaranteed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The ICJ ruled that U.S. courts must reconsider Medellin’s sentence and conviction to determine whether the violation of the Vienna Convention had a causal effect on the outcome of the trial. The ruling also applied to 50 other Mexicans who had been sentenced to death by U.S. courts. In a 2005 executive memorandum, President Bush ordered the Texas courts to comply with the ICJ’s decision.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court controversially ruled that international law did not automatically translate to domestic law and that President Bush could not force the state to reconsider the case.
“Medellín is one of the worst decisions in the last 50 years,” said Epps, who also edited the latest issue of the transnational law review. “The Supreme Court decision flies in the face of 200 years of practice and interpretation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. The case is a serious blow to the rule of international law in U.S. courts. One can only hope that it will not be too long before the Supreme Court revisits all of the issues raised in the case.”