When he was governor of Texas, President George W. Bush presided over the execution of 152 murderers.  Yet today, as if to turn the phrase “Don’t mess with Texas” on its head, El Presidente wants to stop the Lone Star State from giving the hot shot to a Mexican murderer and rapist.

As disturbing as José Medellin’s heinous crime are the lengths to which Bush has gone to protect him from the chilling gush of the executioner’s hypodermic: The President has backed Medellin’s argument before the U.S. Supreme Court that Texas must, in deference to the will of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), give him another hearing.  The Supreme Court will make its ruling sometime this spring, and its decision could affect the cases of 50 other Mexicans on death row.

Medellin’s notoriety arises from his enthusiastic participation in one of the more brutal deeds in the annals of illegal-alien crime.  It began with two innocent girls who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On June 24, 1993, Jennifer Ertman (14) and Elizabeth Pena (16) were walking home from a friend’s apartment in Houston, Texas, just before midnight.  Their route took them through a city park, where Medellin and other members of the Black and Whites gang, including one juvenile and Derrick Sean O’Brien, a black man, were drinking and “beating in” a new member.  You don’t have to be Ellery Queen to figure out what happened next.

For an entire hour, the gang raped and sodomized the girls.  “The confessions of the gang members,” one account goes, “indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time.”  After the rape, the gang strangled Jenny with O’Brien’s red nylon belt.  He pulled on one end while Medellin, according to O’Brien’s testimony, pulled on the other until it snapped.  They finished the job with Jenny’s shoelaces.  “The bitch wouldn’t die,” Medellin complained afterward.  The gang also strangled Elizabeth with her shoelaces, and the coroner testified that they knocked out two of Elizabeth’s front teeth.  Then the gang members stomped the girls’ necks and kicked in Jenny’s ribs.  Authorities found the girls’ bodies, rotting in the Texas heat, four days later.  In another macabre twist, O’Brien showed up on videotape smiling amid a crowd watching investigators at the scene.

O’Brien was executed in July 2006, and others who were present landed in prison, but justice for Medellin has eluded the Ertman and Pena families.  In October, when Medellin’s case went to the Supreme Court, FOX News reported that Randy Ertman, Jennifer’s father,

feels betrayed by Bush’s decision.  Ertman shook Bush’s hand when he was running for president, asking him if he remembered the girls and if he would keep their killers on death row.  Bush said he would keep them on death row . . .

“He shook my hand and lied,” Ertman said.

Technically, Bush didn’t lie: He broke a promise.  The global legal contretemps began when the Mexican government dusted off the little-known 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which requires authorities to offer foreign arrestees the chance to consult with diplomats.  Not surprisingly, Houston’s police and other local departments were unaware of this aged, arcane tittle of international law.  Because Medellin and 50 other Mexicans on death row were never offered the required consultation, Mexico sued the United States in the ICJ.  Led by a Chinese communist judge, this august panel of solons ruled that the states in question, mainly Texas and California, must convene hearings to determine whether the convictions arose from a lack of diplomatic consultation.  The international court also ordered the Bush administration to review the cases, and the administration, in turn, ordered each state to offer the defendants a new hearing.  Medellin, who waived his Miranda rights and confessed to killing Ertman and Pena, was the first convicted murderer to seek redress.  He appealed his conviction to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which turned down his and Bush’s argument last year because, it said, neither the President’s nor the ICJ’s mandates are “binding federal law” that supersede Texas statutes.  In other words, the court ruled that Bush exceeded his constitutional authority.  So Bush took Texas to the Supreme Court.

As Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media observed, President Bush’s attack on Texas is part of his plan to ensnare the United States in an ever-expanding web of international treaties and protocols that undermine American sovereignty.  For the Ertmans and Penas, however, the nut of the case is justice for their daughters.  And for the rest of us, it’s this awful truth: Federal authorities don’t just refrain from deporting illegal aliens before they can rape and murder.  They argue in favor of the murderers and rapists before the Supreme Court.