A long argument before break

The U.S. Supreme Court will take a break from hearing oral arguments until Oct. 29. But before the short hiatus, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. made the unusual move of allowing the usually hour-long oral arguments in one case to go on for nearly 90 minutes Wednesday.

That case – Medellin v. Texas – involves the International Court of Justice’s ruling that that 51 Mexican nationals, including the petitioner, who was sentenced to death after a murder conviction, were entitled to receive review and reconsideration of their convictions and sentences through the United States’ judicial process.  In February of 2005, President George W. Bush said the United States would comply with its international obligation by giving those 51 individuals review and reconsideration in the state courts.

But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that the President’s determination exceeded his powers, and refused. The appeal considers whether Bush has the authority to tell a state court what to do.

Transcripts from the lively debate before the Court can be found here, and more on the arguments can be found here.

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