I think we should start a grass roots movement to get Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to the World Court at The Hague. Judging from her remarks made at a conference in South Africa last month, she sure as hell doesn’t belong within 3000 miles of the Supreme Court building:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg gave a speech in South Africa last month, which, for some reason, is just now being publicized. Ginsburg’s speech was titled “A Decent Respect for the Opinions of [Human]kind.” In it, Ginsburg argued explicitly for the relevance of foreign law and court decisions to interpretation of the American Constitution. Ginsburg did not try to hide the partisan nature of this issue; at one point, she referred to “the perspective I share with four of my current colleagues,” and she specifically criticized Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Richard Posner, and the two bills that were introduced in Congress in 2004 and were broadly supported by Republicans. And she indulged in an outrageous bit of demagoguery, suggesting that those who disagree with her are somehow aligned with Justice Taney’s infamous defense of slavery in the Dred Scott case.
Ginsburg contrasted our Constitution (unfavorably, I think it’s fair to say) with the Constitution of South Africa, which specifically provides for the use of foreign law in interpreting its provisions.
You really should read the entire speech, but its argument is most concisely stated here:
To a large extent, I believe, the critics in Congress and in the media misperceive how and why U.S. courts refer to foreign and international court decisions. We refer to decisions rendered abroad, it bears repetition, not as controlling authorities, but for their indication, in Judge Wald’s words, of “common denominators of basic fairness governing relationships between the governors and the governed.”
Hinderaker offers a devastating critique of both the implications contained in Ginsburg’s words and the consequences of keeping this simpering internationalist on the court. Even if “foreign law” is not a “controlling authority,” what troubles me most is her notion that we can learn anything from other countries about “relationships between the governors and the governed.”
In America, that relationship is simple, straightforward, and proudly displayed right up front in our constitution, ostensibly so that even idiots like Ginsburg wouldn’t miss it:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I know it to be rather old fashioned of me, but when our Basic Law says that the document is ordained and established for the United States of America, I believe we should like, you know, take the framers of it at their word.
Call me a fuddy-duddy but I also seem to recall something about those governors she speaks of deriving their legitimacy from the consent of the governed and not the other way around as it is in every other country on planet earth. That would seem to put the kibosh on Ginsburg and her fellow black-robed Gods using any legal principle promulgated in countries (or in any supranational legal body) that take a dim view of the governed having any rights except those defined by the governors.
I like this analogy by Hinderaker:
Take, for example, the issue of homosexual sodomy. The Supreme Court recently ruled, in Lawrence v. Texas, that there is a constitutional right to commit acts of homosexual sodomy. Was this ruling informed by reference to foreign jurisprudence? If not, why not? On Ginsburg’s approach, the justices apparently get to pick and choose when they will look abroad for guidance. And, if foreign guidance had been sought in the Lawrence case, would the justices have looked to the law in Muslim countries where commission of such acts is a capital crime? If not, why not? There is no coherent answer to these questions, and, needless to say, Ginsburg does not offer one. In reality, reference to foreign law is nothing more than an ad hoc tool to be invoked or ignored at will by justices who want to advance a left-wing agenda.
I’ve tried to be measured in this critique of Ginsburg’s speech, but the truth is that it is more reprehensible than I have suggested. You really have to read it to appreciate how far removed it is from American laws and traditions, and how demagogic it is in both tone and substance.
What is it about liberals that when they leave the country, they say such outrageous things? Is it simply a matter of pandering to anti-American sentiment that is so widespread among the intelligentsia worldwide? Or is it something more atavistic – perhaps a feeling deep down inside that they really don’t like America very much and wish that we were more like France or Holland or, as Ginsburg seems to be saying, South Africa?
What I do know is that Ruth Bader Ginsburg should not be deciding cases on our Supreme Court. She, and her fellow Justices who think as she does, must be prevented from allowing foreign law or precedent to influence their decisions in any way. By doing so, they drive a stake through the heart of the concept of American exceptionalism – that we consciously do things differently here because of who we are and what kind of people we see ourselves as.
Readers of this site know how often I bemoan the downgrading by the left of American exceptionalism, the natural rights of man, and the idea that there is a “higher law” that we are all answerable to (including members of the Supreme Court). The essence of these conceits is America. They define our history. They animate our present. They are the meat and potatoes of American society. They are so ingrained into our culture, our political system, and our everyday life that we barely notice them – until Justices like Ginsburg attack them. It is then that we realize how very precious these conceits are and how without them, we lose something so valuable that it diminishes the very idea that is America.
For what else is America but an idea? Our sovereignty is not defined by recognizable borders, or a King, or any standard measure other countries would use. Our sovereignty is bound up in our Constitution which is the purest expression of how we see ourselves. And when the Ginsburgs of the world attack the ideas that define us by saying that we should take cues on how to live from foreign lands, I say enough. It should be the other way around. Foreign governments could learn a hell of a lot about freedom from copying what goes on here and not the other way around.
Paul Mirengoff believes that a case could be made for impeaching Justice Ginsburg (although he also believes it will never happen). Let us hope that President Bush gets at least one more opportunity over the next 2 1/2 years to name at least one more conservative justice to marginalize and diminish the influence of this wicked woman.
Michelle Malkin reminds us that Ginsburg napped through recent oral arguments made at the Supreme Court. Maybe she should be sent to the Hague. I understand the Judges got plenty of rest when trying Milosevic for his unspeakable crimes against humanity.