07 October 2007

A Texan Messing With Texas

In a case of ever-expanding and inexplicably interwoven rights, President Bush has stepped into the middle of a capital case in Texas. He wants to ignore the verdict handed down by the state of Texas to Jose Ernesto Medelin because, according to the International Court of Justice, Mr. Medelin’s rights were violated because officers in Texas did not indicate to him that he could ask for assistance from his consulate. Even though Mr. Medelin, according to the article, had spent most of his childhood in the US, he was, and is, a Mexican citizen and therefore must be afforded the “rights” of a foreigner with regard to access to his consulate.

Also according to the article, Mr. Medelin did not begrudge the state of Texas for not offering up consular aid to him at any point during his trail. Mr. Medelin also provided a written confession of his crimes.

Just a few details about the crime Mr. Medelin confessed to. It was a gang-related crime where members found two teenage girls, gang-raped them and killed them. Mr. Medelin was convicted and given the death penalty in October 1994. One month later, Mr. Bush was elected governor of Texas.

Here are a few thoughts on this situation:

- What is the trump law of the United States? Should the federal government in general or the president in particular have direct veto authority on matters which reside entirely within one state? It is my opinion that the federal government has no business intervening in this matter as it is a state matter.

- How is it that Mr. Medelin or his advocates, can select the rules by which they play as the game goes on? Though the article doesn’t say it directly, it can be guessed that Mr. Medelin is an illegal immigrant. Did Mr. Medelin have an opportunity for an education, health care, and protection under the Constitution and other laws while residing in the US as an illegal? If so, why is it that he and others like him are able to, upon committing a dreadful crime, call upon any law or court to justify their rights – rights Mr. Medelin so willingly stripped from his victims?

- If Mr. Bush is now an advocate for Mr. Medelin now, 13 years later, why did he not do something about the matter while he was governor of Texas? It can be easily guessed that, through some twisted political calculation, Mr. Bush feels it necessary to bend to accommodate a judgment of the International Court of Justice (a name which, incidentally, immediately summons visions of Saturday morning cartoons into mind).

A final thought on this matter that, I think, gets to the heart of it. What is the highest law of the United States and who is it meant to protect? Are Constitutions (both US and individual state constitutions) truly the law of the land or are they simply used at the convenience of those clever enough to manipulate them? Who are laws built to protect, common, law-abiding citizens or thugs of all colors, creeds and nationalities?

I know what kind of country I want to live in: one where laws are written and enforced to protect the liberties of those who do their level best to obey those laws. When laws and rules used to enforce them are twisted to allow a person like Mr. Medelin to escape justice, they are no longer valid, and those who twist the rules are guilty of taking a wrecking ball to public confidence in the law. Mr. Bush has taken, for better or worse, principled stances on many issues over the course of his two terms as president. His position on the case of Mr. Medelin has no principle and, in fact, shows a lack of concern for the rule of law within the US.

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