A case now before the U.S. Supreme Court proves why the Senate must defeat the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. The oral arguments heard this month by the justices didn't mention the treaty, but the parallels are powerful. The case concerns Jose Medellin, a Mexican national on death row in Texas. Medellin was convicted and sentenced to death after he confessed in 1993 to the rape and murder of two teenage girls in Houston.
Long after Medellin had received full due process of the U.S. legal system, in 2003 the Mexican government sued the United States in the International Court of Justice. That is an agency of the United Nations that sits at the Hague in the Netherlands.
In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled 14-1 in favor of Mexico and ordered the United States to give Medellin another hearing, or perhaps another trial, at which he could receive the assistance of Mexican consular employees. At that time, the International Court of Justice was headed by a judge from the People's Republic of China.
A 1963 treaty known as the Vienna Convention, which the United States and Mexico signed and ratified, provides that aliens who are accused of crimes in a foreign country are entitled to request the assistance of consular officials from their home country. Medellin never requested such assistance until long after he was tried, convicted and sentenced, and after all his appeals were denied.
Of course, Medellin did receive the assistance of competent U.S. legal defense lawyers throughout the process, which lasted longer than the lives of the girls he murdered. There is no reason to think that the presence of a Mexican consul could have made any difference in the outcome.
Incredibly, the administration of President George W. Bush knuckled under to the International Court of Justice and ordered the Texas courts to give Medellin another hearing. The Texas courts properly refused to honor this unconstitutional presidential interference, and the Texas decision was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
This case is dramatic proof of why the U.S. Senate should not ratify any more U.N. treaties that put U.S. law in the noose of foreign tribunals. The United States has only one vote out of about 150 nations, i.e., the same vote as Cuba.
Not only are foreign tribunals hostile to the United States, but their judges have no comprehension of U.S. law, due process, or trial by jury. They often meet in secret, they arrogantly assert they can define their own jurisdiction, and their decisions may not be appealed.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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