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High Court Rejects Bush Assertion on U.S. Treaties

The Supreme Court justices by a 6-3 vote said Tuesday that President Bush overstepped his authority when he tried to order Texas to reopen the case of a Mexican man on death row for rape and murder.

An international court had ordered President Bush to tell the states to review cases of some foreign defendants who were denied the right to contact their embassies when they were arrested. That was a right the United States had agreed to, and in fact insisted on, when negotiating a treaty. But now the justices say the president's executive power does not give him the authority to intervene in those state criminal cases.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.