Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Justice Antonin Scalia Warns Judges against Relying on Foreign Law

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He says the Founders of this country did not want us to emulate Europe.

The U.S. Constitution is not a "living document" and should not be filtered through foreign law.

That's the message U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had for a group of judges and lawyers in Houston this week.

"I fear the courts' use of foreign law in interpreting the Constitution will continue at an accelerated pace," the 72-year-old jurist told the local chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Scalia called on judges to adhere to the constitutional authors' intent. He said the Founders of this country did not want us to emulate Europe.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said Scalia is right to criticize his colleagues for relying on foreign law to justify their decisions.

"If judges are just going to make stuff up, they should have the courage to admit it," he said. "If we're not vigilant as citizens to protect our law-making authority under the Constitution, the judiciary will increasingly take that authority from us and use it to create a society in their own image.

"We must cry 'foul' whenever the court dabbles in its fondness for the use of foreign law to justify its own excesses."

Wendy Long, legal counsel at the Judicial Confirmation Network, agreed.

"The whole idea of America was that we were going to be a nation built on the consent of the governed," she told Family News in Focus. "That means we’re only governed by laws that a majority of us have assented to — that includes the Constitution." Citizen Link

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