The United States was a signatory of the Vienna Convention on
This convention obligates signatories to inform detained foreign
nationals of the right to request assistance from the consul of
United States was also a signatory [signed agreement or treaty].
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) would have jurisdiction
to resolve disputes arising out of the interpretation or
application of the convention.
Convicted or murder in state court.
Sentenced to death.
He claimed that he had not been informed of his consular rights
in violation of the Convention.
State and Federal Court
his request on the ground that he had failed to raise the claim
IJC (Medellin and 50) Decision
Medellin and 50 other foreign nationals claimed that they had
not been informed of their consular rights.
IJC US is obligated
Held the United States was obligated "to provide, by means of
its own choosing, review and reconsideration of the convictions
and sentences of the [affected] Mexican nationals without regard
to state procedural default rules
Granted certiorari to review the lower courts decision denying
President Bush issued his Memorandum
Provided that the United States will discharge its international
obligations under the decision of the International Court of
Justice in [Avena], by having State courts give effect to the
Medellins second application was denied by the state court.
Convention was not self-executing
Convention not self-executing
Not binding on state and federal court as a matter of domestic
United States Argues President can
resolve foreign policy issues
Supreme Court Presidents Authority
to act (Act of Congress or Constitution)
The President's authority to act, as with the exercise of any
governmental power, "must stem either from an act
of Congress or from the
Supreme Court President does not
have unilateral self-executing power
The President has an array of political and diplomatic means
available to enforce international obligations, but
unilaterally converting a
non-self-executing treaty into a self-executing one is not among
The responsibility for transforming an
international obligation arising from a non-self-executing
treaty into domestic law falls to Congress.
Non-self-executing treaty (definition)
non-self-executing treaty, by definition, is one that was
ratified with the understanding that it is
not to have domestic effect of its own
The President is precluded on acting on his own.
How Non-self-executing treaty can become domestic law
Non-self-executing treaty can become domestic law only in the
same way as any other law--through passage of legislation by
both Houses of Congress, combined with either the President's
signature or a congressional override of a Presidential veto.
President Arg Action valid because of Congressional
Youngstown #2 Category.
Acquiescence does not exist.
President Arg Memorandum is a valid exercise of Presidents
foreign affairs authority.
To resolve disputes with foreign nations.
This is an unprecedented action.
Government has not identified a single instance.
ICJ is not a domestic law.
The President cannot rely on his Take Care [execute laws, not
make them] powers.