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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Medellin v. Dretke Regarding Treaty Enforcement

December 3, 2004

On December 3, 2004, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Medellin v. Dretke, Case No. O4-5928, in which WRF has been supporting amici who are professors, scholars and diplomats expert in international law and U.S. treaty practice. In October 2004, WRF filed an amicus curiae brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of theamici. Jose Medellin is one of 49 Mexican nationals currently on death row in the United States who are covered by the final judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case of Avena and Other Mexican Nationals, 2004 ICJ 128.

The professors and scholars who supported the certiorari petition will participate in the briefing of the issues on the merits. The scholars and professors will continue to argue that because the Mexican nationals were not advised in a timely manner of their rights to contact Mexican consular authorities under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and were convicted and sentenced to death without the benefit of timely consular services, they are entitled to review and reconsideration of their convictions and sentences as a remedy for the treaty violation, as held in Avena.

The Supreme Court's decision to consider the Medellinissues on the merits could lead to a significant new articulation of the role of treaties in the administration of US law and the obligation of states to respect treaty commitments undertaken by the federal government.