The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Thomas Friedman — By Cassandra
I blame Thomas Friedman for this transparent idiocy:
Why all the fuss over a seemingly technical point of law? This debate is driven by outcomes. In each of the recent cases in which invoking foreign law has sparked controversy, the decisions have been progressive or liberal. But a lot of international law is not so progressive. On issues ranging from freedom of speech to abortion, much of the world is far to the right of U.S. law. It will be interesting to see whether conservatives get so upset when cases come along in which international doctrines would help their side.
But at a loftier plane, this is an important debate about the court’s role. Conservatives who believe in a limited role for judges say the Supreme Court should stick to its knitting, namely interpreting the U.S. Constitution as written, and should ignore current fads here or abroad. But the counter-argument is strong. If globalization has flattened the world in terms of the economy and culture, isn’t it time that our legal system also look beyond our borders? Are we so arrogant that we think we have nothing to learn from judges and lawmakers around the world who have faced the same issues we face?
Indeed. Why all this fuss over a technical point of law? Why get bogged down in mere technicalities like what the law actually says, not what we would like it to say based on the invaluable input of, say… France? Or the fact that “the Court’s role” is spelled out in the Constitution, which that same court would now like the freedom to change according to its whims? Checks and balances, anyone? What if the Court suddenly decides, based on foreign law, that it should be superior to the other two branches of government? Ah, cheries…surely we are not so arrogant that we cannot learn from other nations?
The Constitution is the foundation of law for this nation and provides for its own amendment, not by judicial fiat but by the democratic process.
A house built on a constantly-shifting foundation cannot stand. If we are to shift that foundation let it be a deliberate and well-grounded change, supported by our own jurisprudence or resting on the consent of the governed (i.e., those governed here, not in Eritrea, Botswanna, or the pampas of South America).
These are hardly mere ‘technicalities’.
This content was used with the permission of Villainous Company.