Bush Can't Force US Courts to Obey World Body: Justices

Ruling by international court not binding, nor was president's order for US to follow
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2008 4:45 PM CDT
Bush Can't Force US Courts to Obey World Body: Justices
President Bush makes a statement at the State Department in Washington, Monday, March 24, 2008.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court ruled today for states, and against President Bush in a quarrel over international law, finding that a foreign death-row inmate did not have a right to further review—though the world's top court said he did. Ernesto Medellin was not provided counsel from his native Mexico, violating the Vienna Convention; Texas balked at Bush’s attempt to enforce the body's ruling.

The justices found 6-3 that International Court judgments don’t bind US state courts—and that Bush doesn’t have authority to enforce foreign decisions, the Washington Post reports. The dissent by Justice Stephen Breyer worried the “nation may well break its word,” despite the president’s best intentions. Justice John Paul Stevens sided with the majority, but urged Texas to re-open the case voluntarily. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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