Sunday, May 21, 2006

scalia rebukes republicans in congress

About three months ago, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her support for the use of foreign law in court decisions public. In South Africa, she told the constitutional courts there that the use of international law was necessary because the U.S. Constitution is "a document frozen in time."

This past Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia disagreed with Ginsburg's assessment, but still asked Congress to stay out of the issue. In a speech to the National Italian American Foundation, Scalia made it clear that while he held the same position as those fervent conservatives in Congress in opposing the use of international law in court decisions, he didn't need their help.
Scalia dissented vigorously from the court's recent decisions that invoked foreign law to help strike down the death penalty for juveniles and laws against consensual homosexual conduct. In Congress, conservative Republicans responded angrily to the rulings and introduced bills that would either condemn or ban the court's use of foreign legal authorities.
He told the crowd (where a few House members happened to be present) that "no one is more opposed to the use of foreign law than I am, but I'm darned if I think it's up to Congress to direct the court how to make its decisions."

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who has co-sponsored a nonbinding resolution against the use of foreign law, said that Scalia's comments were "like being told your favorite baseball player disagrees with your approach to hitting."

Scalia's "brilliance," Feeney said, "has not convinced a majority of the court. He needs our help, even if he doesn't want it."

After telling Congress that "it's none of your business," Scalia joked that "part of my charm is that I tell people what they don't want to hear." Five of the sitting Supreme Court Justices support the use of international law to create a transnational link between courts and give judges legislation that informs them without binding them. Justice Ginsburg does not think that the anti-international law legislation will pass. Some conservatives agree, now that Scalia has made his position clear on congressional intervention.


Right of Texas said...

Congress should stay out of the issue.

Conservatives know this GOP Congress is out of control

Bradley Bowen said...

I agree... it seems like the Congress is just trying to butt into everything... from Terri Schiavo to what Supreme Court Justices are allowed to consider when making their decisions. Scalia made the right call.