SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Friday, February 25, 2005

A "GLOBAL TEST" FOR THE U.S. CONSTITUTION? Today’s Wall Street Journal has a “Review & Outlook” editorial entitled “Rule of (International) Law," that Americans concerned with the continued vitality and existence of self-government should read.

As the editorial notes, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in the case of Medellin v. Dretke--a case discussing whether or the extent to which an International Court of Justice will be enforced in a Texas court. The WSJ editorial states some matters of concern as follows:

Letting the ICJ tell Texas how to run its courts would move the U.S. in the direction of the European Union, which has a supernational legal system to which national courts must bow. Not far down the line would be an ICJ ruling declaring the death penalty illegal and ordering Texas to get rid of capital punishment.

Obviously, if our nation is a signatory to a treaty, then there are ramifications for that. So I'm not going to hyperventilate about the potential ramifications of this case's outcome--at least, not yet.

On the other hand, our Constitution does not permit us to cede our own sovereignty to foreign nations or international bodies through the treaty-making power. Particularly worrisome is the trend in leftist thinking--noted by Kenneth Anderson at his blog and by Judge Robert Bork in his book Coercing Virtue--to supplant an increasing amount of democratic decision-making to international tribunals.

We have seen recent Supreme Court opinions that refer to international as a source of authority on constitutional matters--with the idea being that the Constitution should be read according to the equivalent of John Kerry "global test." But the pre-amble of the Constitution makes quite clear that our Constitution has authority through the consent of "We the People, of the United States..."

Abraham Lincoln posed the concern, in his First Inaugural, about the problem that exists when important questions affecting the whole of the people are decided by private parties in individual cases: self-government is undermined. Much more so when such important questions are decided by unaccountable (and often anti-American) elitists sitting on judicial tribunals.

I look forward to the brief from the U.S. Solicitor General’s office, in this case. The WSJ editorial indicates that it is due on Monday.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)


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