NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 21, 2005

In a disturbing departure, the Supreme Court is trending away from employing the U.S. Constitution to interpret U.S. law, and is increasingly relying on international law and opinion as the basis for domestic legal decisions, says Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and president of American Values, a conservative, nonprofit organization.

The trend of systematically referring to international sources and basing decisions on foreign laws is worrying for a number of reasons, he says:

  • While other countries may have constitutions that are similar to ours, they are not alike in content or in the context in which they were written: How can we decide on the constitutionality of a law based on laws from some other country's constitution?
  • America is a unique nation, with a unique Constitution that has its own history: How can we interpret it based on the standards and values of judges in Zimbabwe?

We can't ignore what is happening here, says Bauer. Whether you agree or disagree with the court's ultimate decisions, the issue is the manner in which these decisions are made. Under no circumstances should laws passed by the British Parliament, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag or the High Court of Zimbabwe be a factor in deciding what is a permissible decision by the American people in our own self-governance.

Our Founding Fathers knew that the best defense against dictatorship from the outside was strong national sovereignty. They understood this from suffering under the rule of the kings of Europe. More than two centuries ago, we fought a war so that Americans would no longer be ruled from Europe; it is high time the high court is reminded of that fact, says Bauer.

Source: Gary Bauer, "Disorder in our high court," USA Today, March 21, 2005.


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