Should Globalization Amend Our Constitution?
March 14, 2004
In a world with increasing competition, Globalization is inevitable. Does that mean that economic interdependence should result in political and social interdependence with specific reference to the United State Constitution? Should we allow alterations to the extent that it conforms to the opinions of other nations who follow different standards of law, and share an entirely divergent legal tradition it does indeed appear that some of our Supreme Courts Justices take this view and subscribe to this notion.
Justice Breyer discussed with ABC News just last summer how the United States is changing "through commerce and through globalization...that this change is having an impact on the courts. He speculated on "the challenge" of whether our US Constitution "fits into the governing document of other nations." We ask just where did the idea that the U. S. Constitution should "fit" into the laws of other nations? If a country can't make its own laws, how can it be a sovereign nation? This, to us, seems a fair question.
In a dissent in Knight v. Florida, Breyer said it was "useful" to consider court decisions on allowable delays of execution in India, Jamaica, and Zimbabwe. True, Zimbabwe, indeed, has had a lot of experience with executions, but it's hardly a country from which we should get guidance about due process.
And then there was the time when Justice Kennedy couldn't find any language in the U. S. Constitution to justify overturning the Texas sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, so he invoked "other authorities" in "Western Civilization," namely, the European Court of Human Rights, which invalidated EU countries' domestic laws proscribing homosexual conduct. Kennedy cited an amicus brief by Mary Robinson, former United Nations high commissioner for human rights. Kennedy wrote, "The right the petitioners seek has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom in many other countries," and he emphasized the "value we share with wider civilizations." It is our impression, however, that most other countries do not share American values
Reading foreign court decisions no doubt contributed to Kennedy's reliance on "emerging awareness...in matters pertaining to sex" instead of on the U. S. Constitution. Four justices joined Kennedy's majority decision without distancing themselves from his globalist reasoning.
Justice Scalia eloquently dissented: "Constitutional entitlements do not spring into existence...because foreign nations decriminalize conduct." He called Kennedy's words "dangerous dicta," adding that the Supreme Court "should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans."
In Atkins v. Virginia, Justice John Paul Stevens' majority cited an amicus brief from the European Union. The EU warned us, Stevens wrote, that "within the world community, the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed by mentally retarded offenders is overwhelmingly disapproved." Scalia, retorted, "The views of other nations cannot be imposed on Americans." But five justices did impose foreign views on us, namely
"Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ, joined. Rehnquist, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Scalia and Thomas, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Thomas, J., joined."
To us, it is rather obvious as to the rationale behind the filibustering maneuverings in connection with the consideration of major judicial appointments. This seems to be particularly the case with respect to those nominated who may seem to be viewed as a strict constitutional constructionist as compared to an activist judiciary who would circumvent our Constitution and diminish our sovereignty as a free nation. And that is the way we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.