Antonin Scalia Bitchslaps "Foreign Law"

Scalia Asks: What Does France Know?,” U.S. News & World Report, 7 November 2005,

While enjoying Thanksgiving, grokking Foreign Dispatches, and reading Freakonomics, I couldn’t help cheering at judicial hero, Antonin Scalia. I wonder what Big Cheese thinks of this:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is stepping up his campaign against judges using foreign laws to decide cases at home. And he’s doing it with tart sarcasm. We ran into him last week at an American Spectator dinner, where he poked fun at fellow justices who like overseas opinions. “It will seem much more like real legal opinion if one can cite a foreign opinion to support the philosophic, moral, or religious conclusion or pronouncement,” he said with a sneer. “You can put it right there in the opinion. It looks like legal opinion. It says so and so versus so and so.” The justice considered the most conservative on the court added, “I dare say that few of us here would want our life or liberty subject to the dispensation of French or Italian criminal justice.”

Pimp that ho, my daddio!

One thought on “Antonin Scalia Bitchslaps "Foreign Law"”

  1. Dan,

    The Honorable Scalia nailed it didn't he? While “con law” left me dazed and bored of all my politics classes, I am nevertheless clueless as to why any SC Justice would cite “international law” as a precedent.

    This is why judges matter to the GOP base. When the US Constitution is not the sole guiding principle of legal reasoning in America then our democracy is in danger.

    Kind regards,

    Bill Rice

  2. Bill,

    You are right that judges are very important to the conservative movement. The ability of the base to force the GOP to focus on the courts, even after Bush showed weakness by naming Miers, is a testament to their power.

    There is a movement — my International Law prof was a follower — that holds there is only one “Law” — International Law — under which constitutional, domestic, “metropolitan” laws are just details.

    These “monadics” will claim that VI(2):

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    should be read to hold that “Treaties” should be interpreted to mean “international law” (extending beyond the meaning of treaty given in II(2)(2), so not just Senate ratified treaties but customs, executive agreements, etc), with international law as the “supreme” of the three.

    Thank you for the comment.

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