Saturday, December 11, 2004

And the hits just keep on coming...

Supreme Court to Hear Case of Mexican on Death Row
December 11, 2004


WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 - The Supreme Court accepted an appeal on Friday from still another Texas death-row inmate in a case with significant international implications. The question is whether the federal government can permit Texas to execute a Mexican whose rights under a binding international treaty were violated when he was tried and sentenced to death without Mexican officials being notified.

Obviously things have reached crisis proportions in Texas. We have clear violations of federal law by state officials, repudiation of Supreme Court precedent by Texas courts, and the flouting of international law.

I think it is time for a moratorium.

But there's a real question of how this could be achieved. The federal government, in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent federalism decisions, may not have the constituitonal authority to order one. Moreover, the Supreme Court -- empowered to hear individual cases and controversies -- is unlikely to order such a sweeping across-the-board remedy. That leaves the state of Texas with the power to act. But surely we can't expect the recalcitrant state to flog itself!

The best solution for the time being may be sunlight.... Continue with the individual reversals and ratchet up the public pressure.


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