Lone star stunt

Minneapolis attorney's argument has Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court, & Condoleeza Rice sparring

Last summer, City Pages published an interview with local lawyer Sandra Babcock, who had successfully argued to the World Court that the United States was executing foreign convicts in a manner that violates international law. Her point: The U.S.-ratified Vienna Convention on Consular Relations obligates the United States to inform foreigners under arrest that they have a right to ask for help from their home consulate. Cops weren't doing this anywhere, but it was a particular problem in Texas, where Mexicans occupy dozens of death row cells.

Now, with the high court set to consider the case of one of those Mexican nationals--and consequently whether it will honor decisions by the International Court of Justice--the Bush Administration has announced that it's not interested in no stinkin' treaties, and chooses to view the relevant proviso in this one as "optional." Today's Slate carries an interesting (if slightly convoluted) look at the tangled politics of the issue.

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