Rejecting Jose Ernesto Medellin’s appeal, the Supreme Court made clear its refusal to bow to international pressure and its unwillingness to await related legislation that had not progressed beyond the “bare introduction of a bill,” the Houston Chronicle reports. Medellin, 33, was executed Tuesday night after an almost four-hour delay as Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials awaited the high court’s 5-4 decision. The majority opinion stated that neither President Bush nor Gov. Rick Perry had made clear to the court that congressional or Texas legislative action was likely that would necessitate a delay. The also noted that the Department of Justice had not sought to intervene in the case.
At issue was Medellin’s contention he was denied access to consulate officials from his native Mexico after his arrest for his role in the 1993 gang rape and murders of two Houston teenagers. Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, foreign prisoners are supposed to be allowed to contact the consulate offices of their home countries. Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer dissented. They expressed concern with the international implications of going forward with the execution.