Cruz’s article, “Defending U.S. Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and Federalism in Medellin v. Texas” sought to describe the underlying legal ramifications of the Medellin v. Texas case. The case, which served as a seminal case regarding the clarification of the powers of influence of external judicial agencies on domestic court procedures through a review of the influence of the Vienna Convention, the World Court decision, and the Presidential Memorandum (Cruz 27-28). Mendellin was convicted and his appeal denied, but given the fact that the case had shifted to focus on procedural law, when it was brought before the Supreme Court, certiorari was granted again, in an effort to clarify the influence of the World Court and the Presidential Memorandum, both of which were placed below the law of the land as to find in another way would have undermined the authority of the justice system (Cruz 28).

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The author’s main argument regarding the case of Medellin v Texas was that a finding in favor of Medellin would have undermined the justice system, caused a host of new trials, ultimately wasted taxpayer time and money, and resulted in a loss of autonomy within the United States as it would have placed the desires of foreign courts higher than the domestic governance of the country (Cruz 35). In seeking to provide support for his opinion regarding the outcome of the case, Cruz references The Federalist Papers, the Brief of Amici Curiae the European Union and Members of the International Community in Support of the Petitioner at 3-4, Geofroy v. Riggs, Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, and New York v. United States (34-35). These sources appear to be valid sources in support of the argument; however, without further review of each of the cases, i.e. first hand review, as opposed to taking Cruz’s word that these cases are in support of his arguments, it cannot be stated for certain that these sources are the most appropriate for Cruz to use to defend his point. When looking at the source material itself, the use of court cases as a means of proving a point or to show precedent is a commonly accepted legal approach to defining case law and thus serves as an appropriate type of source material to use within the case itself.

One strength of the article is that Cruz appears to be knowledgeable about the case due to his personal involvement with the case (Cruz 31-32). Cruz’s first-hand knowledge of the case indicates that he would have a more thorough understanding of the intricacies of policy law as a result, and he is able to convey this information succinctly to the reader. It is because of his experience working the case directly that Cruz himself can be viewed as a primary source for information on the case, however, his claims should be backed up by additional source material for further validity. While such sources are present, the reviewer would need to read those sources to determine the reliability of the information presented in the Cruz article.

One weakness of the article is that Cruz assumes a high level of legal knowledge on the part of his audience, which makes it a poor source for a layman. Cruz assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of the appeals process and the nuances associated with bringing a case before the Supreme Court (27-28). Still further, Cruz assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of terms such as “certiorari” (28), which, if lacking, would result in decreased comprehension of the subject matter on the part of the reader. Ideally, in the creation of an article, the writer would include definitions for terms that may be unfamiliar to the audience, something that Cruz lacks.

The MLA handbook argues that an individual should document their sources in order to be able to comprehensively and verifiably reference past work, offering precedent for past knowledge and ideas. Cruz accomplishes this task through the footnote approach, offering reference material that his audience can use to verify his claims. In this manner, Cruz does meet the handbook requirements as the justification for source citations, however, Cruz does not employ MLA style in order to do so. Even still, Cruz does adhere to social and personal responsibility in research, as he does not take past ideas or past case law and pass those ideas off as his own.

  • Cruz, T. “Defending U.S. Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and Federalism in Medellin V. Texas.” Harvard Journal Of Law & Public Policy, vol 33, no. 1, 2010, pp. 25-35., Accessed 21 Feb 2019.