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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Medellin v. Dretke Debate, Ex Ante

We Who Cannot Be Present on Monday at 4 PM to see Lori Damrosch and Curtis Bradley discuss Medellin v. Dretke offer a quick preview. The case will be argued before the Supreme Court on March 28; it's an attempt to implement the International Court of Justice's judgment in Avena and other Mexican Nationals (Mexico. v. U.S.) through federal habeas corpus proceedings.

That judgment found that the U.S. had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to notify the Mexican consulate when its nationals were arrested and allow Mexico to assist its citizens. The petitioners are not asking the Supreme Court to reverse their convictions, only to have their convictions and death sentences reconsidered. The trouble with going along with the judgment is that it apparently would require overturning Breard v. Greene -- a step the Fifth Circuit was unwilling to take -- a 1998 case in which the Supreme Court held that our procedural law overrides international law.

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