Thursday, March 10, 2005

United States Says Screw the World Court

Rule of law? How quaint!

Prompted by an international tribunal's decision last year ordering new hearings for 51 Mexicans on death rows in the United States, the State Department said yesterday that the United States had withdrawn from the protocol that gave the tribunal jurisdiction to hear such disputes.

The withdrawal followed a Feb. 28 memorandum from President Bush to AttorneyGeneral Alberto R. Gonzales directing state courts to abide by the decision of the tribunal, the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The decision required American courts to grant "review and reconsideration" to claims that the inmates' cases had been hurt by the failure of local authorities to allow them to contact consular officials.

The memorandum, issued in connection with a case the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear this month, puzzled state prosecutors, who said it seemed inconsistent with the administration's general hostility to international institutions and its support for the death penalty.

The withdrawal announced yesterday helps explains the administration's position.
Darla Jordan, a State Department spokeswoman, said the administration was troubled by foreign interference in the domestic capital justice system but intended to fulfill its obligations under international law.

But Ms. Jordan said, "We are protecting against future International Court of Justice judgments that might similarly interfere in ways we did not anticipate when we joined the optional protocol."

Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at the University of Georgia, said the withdrawal was unbecoming.

"It's a sore-loser kind of move," Professor Spiro said. "If we can't win, we're not going to play."

This president is the master of "conduct unbecoming."


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Day Late...

But I'm getting married in three days, so I have an excuse.

At any rate, no time to comment on this just now, but I direct you to go read This Is Rumor Control's interview with Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? Very interesting look at what's happening to this country and what we can do about it.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Odd Sentence of the Day

From an actual story in The Guardian:
The strange case of the homosexual necrophiliac duck pushed out the boundaries of knowledge in a rather improbable way when it was recorded by Dutch researcher Kees Moeliker.


Light Posting Continues

Meanwhile, you should all go read Miriam's take on the Ward Churchill hullabaloo over at No Aura.


Monday, March 07, 2005

Death Penalty Decision Bites Texas on the Ass

Being so hard-line on imposing the death penalty seems to have led Texas to have never quite gotten around to passing any laws about "life without the possibility of parole."

Ironic, really, that that means Texas now must behave in a more lenient manner than most states:
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court verdict determining that those who were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes cannot be executed for murder has sent shock waves through the vast Texas penal system.

The recent 5-4 decision by the high court affects 72 juvenile murderers. Twenty-nine of them are on Texas' death row in the Pulansky Unit, a few miles outside Huntsville -- along with 448 others there scheduled to die.

The looming problem is not that these 29 now must be integrated into the system's main population, but that some of them actually might be considered for parole soon.

Texas, which leads the nation -- and world -- in meting out death sentences, is one of only three states without a specific criminal penalty called "life without possibility of parole."

Under current law, one given a life sentence must be considered eligible for parole after serving 40 years -- counting off for "good time." For those convicted before 1993, that minimum was 15 years.


Sunday, March 06, 2005


from my "bachelor's party." And trying to crank out 2 essays by Tuesday, so light posting...