Skip to comments.Does Zimbabwian Law Overrule the Constitution?
Posted on 01/13/2005 6:16:20 PM PST by hipaatwo
If that seems like a stupid question, you haven't been paying attention. One of the most important contemporary issues is the effort by liberals to interpret our Constitution based on "international opinion," as reflected in court decisions and legislative enactments in other countries. Most Americans naively believe that the Constitution means what it says, and the job of judges in Constitutional litigation is to apply the language of that document to the facts before them. The left has long rejected this "simplistic" view, and has argued that general phrases in the Constitution must be interpreted so as to conform that document to "enlightened" opinion in this country. It is a small step to argue that the Constitution must conform to "enlightened" opinion as it exists in the "world community," a view that has gained increasing currency on the Supreme Court.
Today, the Associated Press reports on a televised debate between Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer on this topic. Justice Scalia argued that it is "arrogant" for American judges to mold the Constitution to fit their concept of enlightened world-wide opinion. But Justice Breyer was breathtakingly candid about the role that he thinks foreign countries should play in dictating American law:
Breyer responded that international opinion can be relevant in determining fundamental freedoms in a more global society.
"U.S. law is not handed down from on high even at the U.S. Supreme Court," he said. "The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students. ... It's what I call opening your eyes as to what's going on elsewhere."
I'm not sure I would have believed that if I hadn't read it: "The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students." No mention of the language of the Constitution; no mention of statutes enacted by Congress or the state legislatures; no mention of American customs, traditions, or popular opinion. Do you think this an extreme view? It is, of course, but the Associated Press doesn't think so. Its article calls Scalia a "conservative" justice, but does not label Breyer. His view is, in the AP's view, the mainstream one. (A personal note--Justice Breyer was my honors thesis adviser in law school. I did not view him, then, as an extremist; on the contrary, he was one of a handful of professors who introduced me to free market economics. But no Supreme Court justice has ever moved to the right after being appointed; not in my lifetime, anyway.)
This discussion starkly illuminates the battle that will be fought over the Supreme Court during the next four years. The newspapers and television networks will tell you that President Bush's nominees, who will uphold the sovereignty of the United States and will decide cases based on our Constitution and statutes, and not some other countries', are "extreme." No one will suggest that those holding the opposite view--that American law should be decided by Europeans, Africans and Asians--are out of the meanstream.
The stakes could not possibly be higher.
I heard this debate today C-Span radio and I was amazed at how frank Breyer was in spelling out his philosophy of judicial activism. Scalia, on the other hand, skewered Breyer and did a fantastic job of make the case for interpreting the Constitution on the basis of what the authors actually intended.
That might provide a simple solution for these cases of pedophile priests we keep reading about: Have them assume the missionary position (i.e. tie them up and throw them into a cauldren of water along with carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, salt, pepper etc. etc.), light the charcoal, and proced as in a Tarzan movie. At least I'd assume that's what happens to missionaries in Zimbabwe these days...
You'll need to ask O'Connor.
I am waiting for the mass resignation by activist judges who see the "Writting on the Wall" on what is about to happen to those "masters" who wish to "rule by decree" rather than according to our Constitution as they are bound.
Activist judges and their minions - lawyers and politicians.
Yes. I wish I could share the disgusting depressing IM exchange I had with someone from Zimbabwe about how Mugabe is suppressing people.
Breyer and the rest of the liberals on the SC can't die fast enough or horribly enough to suit me.
It just went off (C-SPAM rebroadcast). Scalia was brilliant (The Constitution means what it meant when it was adopted - set in stone).
Breyer was terrifying - resort to foreign law for "evolving" standards.
"legislature (many but by far not all of whom just happen to be lawyers) writes laws"
Now you see the reason why part of our Constitution was changed. The Separation of Powers barred "Officers of the Court" (a monarchist title of lawyers) from holding office in the Legislative (to create laws) or the Executive (enforcing laws) since they are members of the Judiciary (Interpret laws).
Today, these TYRANTS are in charge of ALL THREE branches of government - brazenly against the laws of our nation as spelled out clearly in English by the Constitution of the United States.
Where in the Constitution are officers of the Court (not a monarchist term, unless California is somehow a monarchy) banned from serving in the legislature?
One must note that John Adams, a member of the First Congress, was himself a lawyer. Was he violating the Constitution?
I believe it was the origianal 13th amendment that barred lawyers from government ... it just happend that the civil war broke out before one little paper was filed ... hmmm