The media have faithfully echoed the views of liberal special interest groups that want Supreme Court nominee John Roberts subjected to intense grilling over social issues such as abortion. They want Roberts to find a right to abortion in the constitution when, in fact, none exists. But at least they claim to want him to follow the constitution. A major problem with the current Court is what Dr. German Mu?oz has referred to as the “unhealthy tendency of allowing foreign laws, bureaucrats, and institutions to affect American political life?”
Mu?oz, a professor at Miami Dade College, has noted that in the capital punishment case of Roper v. Simmons, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter and John Paul Stevens “overturned a capital case decision of the State of Mississippi, and Justice Kennedy rationalized it by citing the legal practices in Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi-Arabia and Yemen, all of them dictatorships! Meanwhile, they overturned more than 200 years of U.S. constitutional history and practices in nineteen American states.”
The ruling in the case mentioned those countries, as well as China and Yemen, as countries that have “either abolished capital punishment for juveniles or made public disavowal of the practice.” These countries were presented as a model for the U.S. The Court went on to say that the U.S. stood “alone in a world that has turned its face against the juvenile death penalty.” The ruling also cited the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits capital punishment for juveniles under 18, even though the U.S. has not ratified it. The Court said it was proper to recognize the weight of “international opinion” against the juvenile death penalty.
The case involved Christopher Simmons, only seven months shy of his 18th birthday, who murdered Shirley Crook. He broke into her house, bound her with duct tape and wire, and threw her off a bridge alive. He had bragged to his friends that he would get away with it because he was a minor.
In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia found it bizarre that the majority would cite a treaty that the U.S. has not ratified to justify eliminating capital punishment for juvenile killers in the U.S. He also found it strange that the Court would cite practices in countries ruled by tyrannical regimes. Scalia said the notion that American law ought to conform to “the laws of the rest of the world” should be rejected out of hand.
Dr. Mu?oz said of the majority in this case, “Believing the meaning of the Constitution is evolving, they practically rewrote the eighth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. These justices should be making decisions based on the Constitution and not on foreign cases or on their own personal opinions.”
This is something that everybody should agree on―that Roberts should follow the U.S. Constitution. He should be vigorously questioned on this matter. Does he believe international opinion and foreign rulings should affect U.S. law or not?