Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bush tries to halt execution of Mexican killer in Texas

When he was Texas Governor, President George W. Bush signed the death warrant for 152 prisoners. But in early October Texas challenged his efforts to block the execution of a convicted killer illegal alien from Mexico.

The question is whether the president has the power to set aside a state law that conflicts with an international treaty. It sets Bush up to argue against the death penalty. The Supreme Court will deal more directly with the death penalty in January when it hears arguments against the use of lethal injection, the main method of execution in the US.

The Texas case gained attention following a death row appeal from the convict, a gang member from Houston who was 18 when he raped and strangled to death two teenage girls in 1993. Born in Mexico, he has lived in the US since he was nine years old, although he was never a legal resident.

Bush issued a memorandum that the US courts would implement an International Court of Justice ruling in the case. It says the administration does not agree with the ruling, but will abide by the court's decision in order to protect US interests abroad.

Ted Cruz, the state's solicitor general and a key adviser on Mr Bush's 2000 election campaign, accused the president of overstepping his authority. "This president's exercise of this power is egregiously beyond the bounds of presidential authority," he said.

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