I came across this article by Andy McCarthy regarding the Medellin Case. (Most of my posts under the Death Penalty category are about this case.) McCarthy frames his argument in terms of both irony and polarizing politics. How ironic that the evil George W. Bush is hated by the same people who either are silent with regard to this case or “sheepishly applauding.” As McCarthy puts it:
What gives? That’s easy. The commentariat is currently dominated by post-sovereign activists the Hudson Institute’s John Fonte has brilliantly labeled “transnational progressives.” These folk, it turns out, have found something that deranges them even more than their contempt for President Bush: democratic self-determination … especially when those benighted Americans, in Cro-Magnon redoubts like (must we utter the word?) Texas, have used their liberty to enact and enforce the death penalty.
That is the reality beneath the bushels of chatter heaped on Medellin v. Texas, a gruesome case in which the United States Supreme Court heard arguments last week.
. . . transnational progressives do not like the death penalty, and they will support any edict that impedes execution, no matter how despotic, and no matter that the despot in question is the bane of their existence.
Not really, Mr. McCarthy. As I’ve stated before, the Bush Administration has made their point loud and clear: Bush gets to decide on everything that involves foreign policy and also gets to define what counts as foreign policy. It’s quite simple. Why McCarthy finds it necessary to twist himself up into knots for another 18 or so paragraphs is beyond me (unless he gets paid by the word).
He relates the facts of the case and the laws at issue, with nice little zingers woven within (for extra fun!) and makes his arguments based on clearly slanting the facts. For example, McCarthy writes:
Bear in mind: the World Court hears disputes between countries. The parties in this particular case, which is called Avena, were Mexico and the United States, not Medellin and the other murderers. And our treaty commitment was merely to permit the World Court to determine whether a country was in compliance with its consular obligations; we did not empower it to order American courts to remediate individual defendants.
The first part is a straw-man. In everything that I have read or heard about this case, no one is arguing that the case is about individuals. (Unless you count someone like Mike Gallagher who focuses on the fact that Medellin was in the country illegally . . . but that’s a different topic.) This case is one of the original 51 covered by the ICJ ruling and it is the first to progress through the court system. The ICJ found that the U.S. was not in compliance and ruled that the Mexican nationals should have a rehearing. McCarthy writes as though the ICJ forced this procedure on U.S. courts. It didn’t. The U.S. Senate ratified a treaty. It’s part of what the U.S. agreed to.
Next, he slams both the SCOTUS and Bush:
The Supreme Court should have been able to reject this contention. But by now it was 2005: the second Bush term in which, unlike the first, seeking love from the international community has pride of place over defending American interests like sovereign self-determination.
Worse, ignoring the manifest impropriety of the federal government presuming to direct state governments to alter their law in the absence of any U.S. constitutional violation, the President presumed to take this momentous step not in a respectful communication to the affected states, but in a peremptory memorandum to his Attorney General.
Lastly, McCarthy argues that the Medellin case is no different from Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon (SCOTUS blog link). I think it is a little different, in that Sanchez-Llamas concerned suppressing evidence given to police and the cases covered in the current ICJ ruling involve contact with or assistance from an accused person’s consulate. Perhaps I’m drawing too fine a line here. He ends his piece with a flourish — Texans have the freedom! to sentence anyone they want to the death penalty and Mr. Bush, democracy begins at home!
Michelle Malkin has a throw-away post up about this, but it’s mostly cut and paste — and that’s mostly Phyllis Schlafly blathering on about the *horrors* of treaties. Sheesh.