StandDown Texas Project

The StandDown Texas Project identifies and advocates best practices in the criminal justice system. To stand down is to go off duty temporarily, especially to review safety procedures. That is what Texas needs to do with its death penalty.

Friday, October 29, 2004

International Law & Texas

There is more than a touch of irony found in the gap between two events this week. On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor spoke at Georgetown University School of Law about the growing importance of international law.

Many Court watchers are reading any tea leaves available because the Court is considering whether it is now unconstitutional to execute juvenile offenders in the United States. One factor that may play a role is the fact that the United States is virtually alone in the world in sanctioning these executions.

Justice O'Connor did not make any mention of the case (Roper v. Simmons), but did state that recognizing international law could foster more civilized societies in the United States and abroad, according to an Associated Press account. "International law is a help in our search for a more peaceful world," she said.

To view the story, go to:

http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-scotus-oconnor,0,696121.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines

For the other half of the story, we move to the Texas State Capitol where Governor Rick Perry decided that Texas would not honor United Nations Day.

President Bush had signed a proclamation urging governors to honor the observance of United Nations Day, recognizing the anniversary of the U.N.'s founding in 1945. That occurred last Sunday around the world, but not officially in Texas.

After some mixed signals from the governor's office, he decided honoring the U.N. with a proclamation would be inconsistent with his views.

To view the Houston Chronicle's coverage of this international dustup, go to:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2872056

To borrow the phrase of Texas' tourism campaign of some years ago, "Texas - it's like a whole other country."

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