COLUMBUS, Ohio — In wide-ranging remarks here, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the use of foreign law by American judges...
“I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law,” Justice Ginsburg said in her comments on Friday.
Justice Ginsburg said the controversy was based on the misunderstanding that citing a foreign precedent means the court considers itself bound by foreign law as opposed to merely being influenced by such power as its reasoning holds.
“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article written by a professor?” she asked.
Where to begin?
I vehemently oppose the Court's over-reliance on stare decisis, but I recognize that they do. When a court cites anything, it does so to justify their ruling. They can cite either the original documents and original intent (the strongest, most preferable view), or they can cite previous rulings (stare decisis), or briefs submitted to the court in support or opposition of a particular viewpoint.
Nothing any foreign court has ever had to say can qualify for a valid citation. They do not rule on either original intent of the U.S. Constitution, nor on previous rulings of U.S. courts. Foreign courts rule on their own laws and their own constitutions; their opinions are of no value in U.S. courts, no matter how similar their laws, their constitutions, or the the case at hand.
Their cases, their courts; our cases, our courts.