Tuesday, April 05, 2005


That's how I'd describe Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recent speech to a conference of lawyers:

NYTimes: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court embraced the
practice of consulting foreign legal decisions on Friday, rejecting the argument
from conservatives that United States law should not take international thinking
into account.

"The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of
the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the
view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of
the date of its ratification," Justice Ginsburg said.

"Even more so today, the United States is subject to the scrutiny of a candid world," she said. "What the United States does, for good or for ill, continues to be watched by the
international community, in particular by organizations concerned with the
advancement of the rule of law and respect for human dignity."

So not only do we have to worry about precedents from whacked judges within the U.S., but Justices like Ginsburg will be scouring the world courts for the latest, globally-adopted penumbra of a shadow of a mirage. And we wouldn't want any U.S. law to offend the sensibilities of world public opinion.

Why not just adopt an exchange program whereby judges in the Hague and the French courts do stints on the U.S. Supreme court, and vice versa? Kind of like a study-abroad program for judges. Wouldn't we be cross-polinating all of the collective wisdom of the European sophisticates and improving our jurisprudence? And besides, we'd get judges who wear those funny wigs.