Here is the official release from the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, Calif:
The papers of the late William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2005, have been donated to the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University. Rehnquist, an alumnus of Stanford, received three degrees from the university, including his law degree, and, before ascending to the Supreme Court, was a member of the Hoover Institution Board of Overseers.
John Raisian, the institution’s Tad and Dianne Taube Director, in making the announcement said, “This is a major acquisition for the Hoover Archives; it complements our collections from the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. Chief Justice Rehnquist’s collection will enhance Hoover’s reputation as a major repository for materials on the U.S. government during the latter part of the twentieth century, and we believe researchers will find it to be an important resource for examining judicial decision making covering the Chief Justice’s more than thirty years on the Supreme Court. We are pleased that Chief Justice Rehnquist’s papers are coming full circle back to Stanford, where he began his illustrious legal career.”
The Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro was all over this–and wrote earlier Wednesday that the Hoover Institution would be making papers from 1972, when Rehnquist joined the court, until 1975 available. Why just that period? Because no justice from that time of the court remains alive. Justice John Paul Stevens has served since ’75.
Let’s drill down a bit to examine what happened last night, when the Supreme Court issued a per curium opinion denying Jose Medellin’s request for a stay of execution. Four justices dissented from the opinion. Medellin, whose appointment with the needle was delayed while the high court deliberated, was put to death at approximately 10 p.m., Central Time.
Medellin applied for a stay to Justice Antonin Scalia, who referred the matter to the entire court. Five votes were needed to issue a stay, and apparently there were only four. Medellin’s request was based on the fact that Congress was working to implement a decision by the International Court of Justice, an arm of the United Nations, mandating that Mexican-born defendants like Medellin are given the right to consult with the Mexican government upon their arrest and that his, and the convictions of 50 other Mexicans on death row in American, must be reviewed. That right comes as a result of a treaty, the Vienna Convention, to which the United States is a signatory.
In its unsigned opinion, the court’s majority said Congress had had more than enough time to implement the court’s 2004 decision. It also, interestingly, pointed to the lack of objection to Medellin’s execution by the Justice Department, even though the State Department and several members of Congress urged Texas to postpone Medellin’s execution, as a reason to deny the stay.
Lawyers for convicted murderer Jose Ernesto Medellin are awaiting word from the Supreme Court whether his execution in Texas by lethal injection, set for this evening at 7 pm CST, will be stayed.
Last night, they filed their final brief to Justice Antonin Scalia, who can decide whether to issue the stay himself, decide to do nothing, or refer the matter to the entire court.
As noted here earlier, the issue is whether putting Medellin to death will violate his constitutional rights, given that Texas has been ordered by an international court at the United Nations to review the circumstances of his conviction and sentence. An effort is underway in Congress to craft legislation responding to that court’s order.
But Texas has never recognized the international court’s authority and its view found support in the Supreme Court last term. The International Court of Justice ruled that Texas had violated a treaty known as the Vienna Convention, which requires that foreign nationals arrested in a signatory country be given the right to meet with officials from their representative consulate. That was not done in Medellin’s case.