The Medellín v. Texas Symposium: A Case Worthy of Comment

18 Pages Posted: 21 May 2008

See all articles by Valerie Epps

Valerie Epps

Suffolk University Law School


This article serves as an introduction to a seven article Symposium on the Medellín case. It explains that the case raises far reaching issues about the relationship between international law and US law, as well as the respective powers of the President to enforce treaties and the states to administer their criminal justice system. Three cases brought against the US in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) arguing that the US had violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations are examined, including how these cases have been used on behalf of foreign criminal defendants in US courts. The seven articles in the Symposium are then examined, revealing a wide array of jurisprudential approaches to the case in all the phases of its international and domestic journey. Finally, the article concludes that the Supreme Court's decision, which refused to enforce the ICJ judgment relating to Medellín, either as a matter of treaty law or in compliance with the President's memorandum, and which misinterpreted the Supremacy Clause, will have a severe, negative impact on the way the world views the willingness of the US to comply with its treaty obligations.

Keywords: treaty breaches, treaty remedies, rights under treaties, self-execution of treaties, congressional implementation of treaties, US state power to implement treaties, ICJ judgments, domestic enforcement of ICJ judgments, executive power to enforce treaties, state criminal default rule

Suggested Citation

Epps, Valerie, The Medellín v. Texas Symposium: A Case Worthy of Comment. Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Vol. 31, p. 209, 2008, Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 08-18, Available at SSRN:

Valerie Epps (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics