Still, Kennedy seems proud of his reliance on international law. ?The overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty is not controlling here, but provides respected and significant confirmation for the Court?s determination that the penalty is disproportionate punishment for offenders under 18,? he wrote.
Sadly, Kennedy wasn?t alone. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sandra Day O?Connor noted that she also would be willing to cite international law if doing so suited her purpose. ?The existence of an international consensus of this nature can serve to confirm the reasonableness of a consonant and genuine American consensus,? she wrote.
Justice Antonin Scalia?s dissent was the only opinion that made much sense. ?I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners,? he wrote, in an opinion joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
These three men are, apparently, the only true conservatives on the court, i.e., they want to conserve the traditional idea that American courts must rely on American laws when making their decisions. Indeed, the Supremacy Clause of our Constitution makes clear that the only supreme law of our land is the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws in conformity with the Constitution, and duly ratified treaties -- not the decisions of foreign courts.
Luckily, the internationalization trend hasn?t yet spread to our executive branch.
President Bush has made it clear the U.S. won?t join the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Other countries are pressing the U.S. to join, because doing so would tie us into the ?international law? some of our Supreme Court justices seem to respect so much.
Of course, Americans would hardly recognize the ICC as a court. For example, defendants may face double jeopardy, hearsay evidence, absentee trials and other things not permitted in American courts. Should we abandon these protections just because they are not part of international law?
The United States has an excellent Constitution and plenty of homegrown laws. We don?t need to import any from foreign lands. Our judges must confine themselves to interpreting our own laws, instead of subjecting us to foreign laws. Or is it time to get a few new judges who will?