In an interesting side‐note to the Medellin decision, the case’s convoluted procedural history made for some rather strange political bed fellows. The Court’s decision, anchored by the “conservative wing” (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito) and joined by the “moderate” Kennedy and (writing separately) the “liberal” Stevens effectively clears the last remaining roadblock to Texas’s imposition of the death penalty on the murderer Jose Erenesto Medellin. Consequently, Tuesday’s result disappointed death penalty abolitionists, who join on the losing side those who want international law to have direct applicability in the United States. That’s right, by ruling against President Bush’s executive overreach — which at least three members of the Court’s “liberal” wing implicitly ratified — the Court angered cosmopolitan liberals. Go figure.
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