Apr 17 2009

When US judges follow precedents from foreign courts

Category: judgesharmonicminer @ 9:13 am

Greek to Me

Foreign law is entirely irrelevant to the exploration and determination of the Constitution’s meaning, unless. . . well unless you think the Constitution has no real meaning and is a trampoline from which the judges may launch themselves into all manner of argument, investigation, and philosophical debate. If you think it is impossible or simply foolhardly to determine what the Constitution means (and think your job is to look for intriguing ideas, interesting notions, and cultural trends to impose on the populace) then foreign law, or novels for that matter, are perfectly relevant.

But which law? Saudi Arabian on women’s rights? I think Justice Ginsburg would recoil in horror. Irish or Italian law on separation of church and state? Preposterous. It becomes obvious that foreign law soon devolves into a sort of grocery shelf from which individual justices can pluck whatever looks “good” and disregard the rest.

I think I have a novel I’d like Justice Ginsburg to use in her next foray into non-USA sources for jurisprudential input.

Starship Troopers

Or maybe she could just use the Torah, definitely a source of input from a foreign Court.


5 Responses to “When US judges follow precedents from foreign courts”

  1. Tom Hunt says:

    Judges are the most dangerous group of people in the U.S. Government. It is time for some accountability. The difficulty is that this country is a Republic based on the rule of law not Democracy base on the rule of the majority; and the “wing nut” judges decide the law. If this was 16th century America, revolution would be in the air.

  2. Hello says:

    Of course, in 16th century America it wouldn’t have been weird for judges to make rulings based on “foreign” precedents… 🙂

  3. Tom Hunt says:

    You got me. In my potification I got the wrong century. Meant 18th and should have said 19th or 20th. But you get my point 🙂

  4. Tom Hunt says:

    And then I meant pontification.

  5. harmonicminer says:

    I fyou don”t make typos your thincking too slo.

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