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    This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.

11-LEAL on Jul 7, 2011

Leal, a Mexican citizen residing in the US since age 2, was convicted of murder in Texas and sentenced to death. When arrested, he was newver advised of his Vienna Convention right to contact his consulate. In a case filed by Mexico against the US in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), that court found the US had violated the rights of Leal and other Mexicans by failing to inform them of the Vienna Convention rights.


Leal requests a stay of execution to allow Congress time to enact a bill filed in the Senate and supported by the President that would implement the ICJ's view of the Vienna Convention as US law. The Supreme Court would then have jurisdiction to determine Leal's case. Yet this Court has never issued a stay in light of proposed legislation. Further, Congress has not acted though 7 years have passed since the ICJ decision, and 3 since a similar defendant requested a stay of his execution in hopes Congress would act. If this were truly a legislative priority, Congress would have acted. Whatever might be the international consequences, Congress did not see them as sufficiently grave as to prompt it to change the law. Last, the US refused to argue that Leal was prejudiced by the failure to provide Vienna Convention rights. This argument would be the beginning point for the Court to consider a stay.


The President's representative requested that the Court issue a stay of execution. Grave harm to international relations may follow if this death sentence is carried out despite the US failure to heed the ICJ's ruling. Rapid consideration of legislation by Congress is promised. This Court usually gives great deference to the President in foreign relations. A short delay in Leal's 16 year old death sentence will do little harm compared to a violation of US international obligations.

    Participating counts on VoteMatch question 9. Question 9: Stricter punishment reduces crime Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
  • Topic: Crime
  • Headline: International Court not grounds for stay of execution (Score: 2)
  • Headline 2: Delay executions if asked by International Court of Justice (Score: -2)

    Participating counts on AmericansElect question 5.
  • Headline: International Court not grounds for stay of execution (Answer: A)
  • Headline 2: Delay executions if asked by International Court of Justice (Answer: C)
  • AmericansElect Quiz Question 5 on Foreign Policy: When you think about the US pursuing its interests abroad, which of the following is closest to your opinion?
    • A: The US should always act in its own interest regardless of what other countries think
    • B: The US should rarely listen to other countries
    • C: The US should listen to other countries more often than not
    • D: The US should always listen to other countries before pursuing its own interests
    • E: Unsure

  • Key for participation codes:
  • Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
  • Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
  • Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
  • Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
  • Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.

Democrats participating in 11-LEAL

Stephen Breyer w2dUS Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg j2dUS Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Elena Kagan j2dUS Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Sonia Sotomayor j2dUS Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 

Republicans participating in 11-LEAL

Samuel Alito j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Anthony Kennedy j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
John Roberts w1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Antonin Scalia j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Clarence Thomas j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 

Independents participating in 11-LEAL

Total recorded by OnTheIssues:

Democrats: 4
Republicans: 5
Independents: 0

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