• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!
  • Welcome to our archives. No new posts are allowed here.

Better Story On Supreme Court

CSA_TX

Active member
Joined
Jun 3, 2004
Messages
254
Reaction score
14
Location
TEXAS
LAW OF THE LAND
O'Connor praises
international law

Calls foreign code 'vital' if judges
are to faithfully discharge duties

Posted: October 27, 2004
9:10 p.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – Judges would be negligent if they disregarded the growing role of international law in U.S. courts, asserted Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a speech today at Georgetown Law School.

It was the second time O'Connor has made a point of affirming the place of international law in U.S. courts.

[font=Palatino, Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Georgia, Times]O'Connor said the Supreme Court is taking more cases that demand a better understanding of foreign legal systems and procedures. She cited, as a recent example, terror cases involving the U.S. detention of foreign-born detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"International law is no longer a specialty," said the appointee of President Reagan. "It is vital if judges are to faithfully discharge their duties. Since Sept. 11, 2001, we're reminded some nations don't have the rule of law or (know) that it's the key to liberty."

Later this term, the Supreme Court is scheduled to decide the constitutionality of executing juvenile killers – a case that has attracted wide interest overseas, with many foreign nations filing briefs pointing to international human rights norms as a justification for banning the practice. O'Connor did not specifically mention the case.

She said recognizing international law could foster more civilized societies in the United States and abroad.

"International law is a help in our search for a more peaceful world," said O'Connor.

At least five members of the current U.S. Supreme Court align themselves with O'Connor's position that international law has a role in U.S. courts.

In 2003, Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the American Constitution Society her colleagues are looking beyond America's borders for guidance in handling cases on issues like the death penalty and homosexual rights. In a decision earlier that year in a Texas case in which anti-sodomy laws were overruled, the justices first referred to the findings of foreign courts. The year before, the court said executing mentally retarded people is unconstitutionally cruel, noting the practice was opposed internationally. Ginsburg cited an international treaty in her vote in 2003 to uphold the use of race in college admissions.



She said, "Our island or lone-ranger mentality is beginning to change." Justices, she added, "are becoming more open to comparative and international law perspectives."

Ginsburg, O'Connor and Stephen Breyer discussed the death penalty and terrorism with French President Jacques Chirac during a European tour that included a conference on the European constitution that same year. France outlawed the death penalty in 1981. Five members of the court attended the conference.

"While you are the American Constitution Society, your perspective on constitutional law should encompass the world," she told the group of judges, lawyers and students. "We are the losers if we do not both share our experiences with and learn from others."

Ginsburg also tipped that the Internet is making it easier for the justices to keep up with the decisions of foreign courts.

Earlier, a New York Times story explained that extensive foreign travel has made both Anthony Kennedy and O'Connor "more alert" to how their peers on other constitutional courts see similar issues.

"Justices have always traveled, teaching or taking part in seminars," the story said. "But these are trips with a difference."

The story said Ginsburg, Breyer, O'Connor and Kennedy have held extensive sessions with judges in Europe. Kennedy, it said, has met with numerous Chinese judges – both in the United States and in China. O'Connor has been involved in the American Bar Association's reform initiative in Eastern Europe.

"With emerging democracies groping toward the rule of law, with colleagues on the federal bench volunteering for constitution-writing duties in Iraq, it is not surprising that the justices have begun to see themselves as participants in a worldwide constitutional convention," the New York Times story said ominously. Not all of the justices agree, however. In his dissent in the Texas sodomy case, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the court should not "impose foreign moods, fads or fashions on Americans." [/font]
 

Schweddy

Benevolent Dictator
Administrator
DP Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2004
Messages
11,914
Reaction score
6,029
Location
Plano, TX
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Another brick in the one world system of government wall...
 

LiberalFINGER

Active member
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
261
Reaction score
5
There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at other countries and observing how they are handling different cases.
 

MSR

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
100
Reaction score
3
Location
Dallas, Texas
Ok so there is nothing wrong?

I assume you believe in law and it's value in society? Well in our system (the oldest democracy on earth, by-the-way) all of our laws are measured by one document and that is the Constitution. Most sociologists believe that the reason our democracy survives while others falter is because of this requirement of law.



We have a Supreme Court Justice who has been given only one task under our laws. That task is to make sure that every law created by our legislatures meets one test. That is the test of the Constitution. It is pointless for her to look at anything other than the constitution to draw arguments to rule on this one point.



Our constitution is a living document and can be changed based on ideas that "the citizenry" sees fit to support and thus pass amendments that then changes the way a Supreme Court Justices measures the law. The alternative is a fascist attitude where the desires of the society are secondary to the desires of the elite.



It is this arrogance that led to the rise of Hitler and his brown-shirts. Unlike other nations… our nation is controlled by the people and every member of our government including Supreme Court Judges serve at the pleasure of the people of this nation. If we allow that to change, then it is only a matter of time until we become a people who are enslaved to a corrupt, self-serving, self-important elitist governing body that is powerless and indifferent to the needs and desires of her people, like for instance France or the United Nations.
 

LiberalFINGER

Active member
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
261
Reaction score
5
To stick to a single track of thought under strict conditions leads to stagnation. I would not assume that the Justice's in question are only looking at things to add or tweak, I would suspect that they are also looking at things that they want to avoid.

As I see it, as long as the Justices do not use foreign laws to break the constitution, then there is no harm done.

I can assure you that if a supreme court justice stated that we should do away with guns because Japan has been doing it for years and seems to be doing all right, I would be . . . Let's just say that I wouldn't be a happy camper.

If the justice were to look at another country that had decided that hanging was a cruel and unusual form of punishment and s/he were swayed by this stance, opting for another form, then I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest.
 

MSR

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
100
Reaction score
3
Location
Dallas, Texas
Yes if you want to look at the 1/10 of one percent of the argument I would even agree with you. But it is not as you suggest in the majority of the cases. The point here is the constitution and its role in our system. It is what the constitution says or suggests that is important.

The issues that are most at risk are constitutional powers. Who has what power and can the vote of the people ever be overturned? What are the powers of the judiciary? What can be done when a judge decides not to follow these constitutional mandates? For instance, the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all men are endowed by their creator for inalienable rights. How have the federal courts applied these tenants when it comes to abortion? How about freedom of speech and freedom of assembly (access) when it comes to Christian groups?



It would be wonderful if we could fight all arguments in the 1/10th of one percentile. But that is not were the damage is done because it is not were the reality lays.
 

Schweddy

Benevolent Dictator
Administrator
DP Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2004
Messages
11,914
Reaction score
6,029
Location
Plano, TX
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
MSR said:
We have a Supreme Court Justice who has been given only one task under our laws. That task is to make sure that every law created by our legislatures meets one test. That is the test of the Constitution. It is pointless for her to look at anything other than the constitution to draw arguments to rule on this one point.
If the above statement were completely true, then why do the courts CREATE tests based on thier personal belief? Why is a litmus test damn near required to place a Supreme Court Justice?

There are MANY MANY more 'tests' - here are a few examples. Good or bad, these are tests beyond the constitution.

Found here
While commercial speech is entitled to First Amendment protection, the Court has clearly held that it is not wholly undifferentiable from other forms of expression; it has remarked on the commonsense differences between speech that does no more than propose a commercial transaction and other varieties.17 The Court has developed a four-pronged test to measure the validity of restraints upon commercial expression. Under the first prong of the test as originally formulated, certain commercial speech is not entitled to protection; the informational function of advertising is the First Amendment concern and if it does not accurately inform the public about lawful activity, it can be suppressed.18
More examples:

Schenck v. US (1919) Court creates/adopts the clear and present danger test as a limitation on free speech rights.

Gitlow v. NY (1925) Court limits free speech rights even further with adoption of bad tendency test; federal free speech protections under 14th amendment do apply, however, to the states.

Brandenburg v. OH (1969) Court, after returning to "clear and present danger" test over time, extends free speech rights by adopting the imminent lawless action test.

Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) Court creates the Lemon test as a way of determining whether church & state questions put government in a position of establishing religion-- laws must (A) have a secular purpose, (B) the primary effect must not be to promote or retard private religious beliefs, and (C) avoid "excessive entanglements"
 

MSR

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
100
Reaction score
3
Location
Dallas, Texas
Tragically I was writing of a perfect world. That is why philosophical propensities of judges is so important. The question is... how important is the constitution and it's original intent?
 

bryanf

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
80
Reaction score
1
Location
The great battleground state of Ohio
It is definitely inappropriate for the Supreme Court to use International Law in the interpretation our laws. The Supreme Court's interpretation of our laws was intended to be determined by the Constitution and by English Common Law. Any other international source should not be used in the interpretation of our laws.
 

CSA_TX

Active member
Joined
Jun 3, 2004
Messages
254
Reaction score
14
Location
TEXAS
It is definitely inappropriate for the Supreme Court to use International Law in the interpretation our laws. The Supreme Court's interpretation of our laws was intended to be determined by the Constitution and by English Common Law. Any other international source should not be used in the interpretation of our laws.
This makes perfect sense:agree
 

Pacridge

DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
3,918
Reaction score
9
Location
Pacific Northwest US
While I tend to disagree ,at times, with a common perspective of "I don't give a crap what the rest of the world thinks of us." I whole heartedly agree with the position that America, as a sovereign nation, does not need to seek clarity in it's legal matter by inserting the laws of other nations. I think there have been times that we have been less than willing to follow international law and we should be more willing to do so, especially since we're one of the first nations to attempt to force other nations to abide to them.
 
Last edited:

bryanf

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
80
Reaction score
1
Location
The great battleground state of Ohio
Pacridge said:
I whole heartedly agree with the position that America, as a sovereign nation, does not need to seek clarity in it's legal matter by inserting the laws of other nations. I think there have been times that we have been less than willing to follow international law and we should be more willing to do so, especially since we're one of the first nations to attempt to force other nations to abide to them.
If particular international law is in line with our own legal precedent, yes. But, it should never be used to subvert our own legal standards. The issue in this particular debate is the Supreme Court's use of international law in its decisions, and I would agree with you that they may use the laws of other nations for clarification, but those laws should not be used for interpretation of our law. Nor should they be used to determine the constitutionality of our laws.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

bryanf

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
80
Reaction score
1
Location
The great battleground state of Ohio
Pacridge said:
But I'm saying as a sovereign we shouldn't need to seek clarity from other nations in reagrds to our laws.
I should have said that the Supreme Court may HAVE used the laws of other nations for clarification. But, I was also responding to another of your comments.

Pacridge said:
I think there have been times that we have been less than willing to follow international law and we should be more willing to do so, especially since we're one of the first nations to attempt to force other nations to abide to them.
I would say that I agree with you as long as the particular international law to which you are referring is in line with our own legal precedent. But, again, it should not be used to subvert our laws or legal system.
 

Pacridge

DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
3,918
Reaction score
9
Location
Pacific Northwest US
Yes, I agree. My point was and is that we seem to be a "do as we say not as we do" nation and I think it's casing us problems overall.
 

Fantasea

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Messages
3,692
Reaction score
8
LiberalFINGER said:
To stick to a single track of thought under strict conditions leads to stagnation. I would not assume that the Justice's in question are only looking at things to add or tweak, I would suspect that they are also looking at things that they want to avoid.

What you are saying, if observed by the justices, would have the effect of a single unelected person having the ability to amend the Constitution at any time.

This was never intended and must be avoided at all costs.

A tweak here, a small addition there might seem inconsequential. However, if over the past 200 years, justices had been making occasional adjustments, the case law upon which current decisions are based would be considerably different. The majesty of the Constitution lies in its consistency over time.

The musings of Justice O'Connor and Justice Ginsberg would be akin to painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa.
 
Top Bottom