Sunday, August 26, 2007

Death in the heart of Texas redux

We've posted before about the fondness for the death penalty in Texas, which this week executed its 400th inmate since 1982, when it reinstated capital punishment following a brief, U.S. Supreme Court-imposed moratorium. (That's 21 so far this year, with another 3 persons set for execution this week.) Today our Opinio Juris colleague, Roger Alford, reports on a colloquy on the subject between Texas and the European Union. The EU called for a halt to executions in the state. Here's the response of Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.

Roger remarks:

This is cute, but regrettable. Governor Perry doesn't seem to take the EU's statement seriously. Of course, the EU is not suggesting that it wishes to 'govern Texas.' It is simply engaging in public diplomacy about an issue of global concern. Recognizing Texas's sovereignty over this issue, it is issuing a diplomatic request for Texas to consider a moratorium.
Rather than mock the European Union's respectful diplomatic overture, I wish Governor Perry would take it seriously and address the EU's concerns on the merits.

Agree, Roger, with one caveat: Isn't it possible that Texas' response was meant neither to be cute nor mocking, but rather dead serious?

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