Foreign Rule

August 12, 2009

IBD    7 Aug 09

Internationalism: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants us to join a foreign court. Newly confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor says foreign law gauges “the mainstream of human thinking.” Are we repealing 1776?

Right smack in the middle of the Declaration of Independence is a passionate case against judicial internationalism. Among the charges against King George is the complaint that he “has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws.” The effects of that foreign jurisdiction included “transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses.”

Though it’s now 233 years after the American people thought we had solved that injustice, this country’s highest-ranking Cabinet secretary, and its newest Supreme Court justice, have different ideas.

Secretary Clinton, speaking in Nairobi on Thursday, called it “a great regret” that the U.S. was not a member of the International Criminal Court, a body that adjudicates on genocide, war crimes and “crimes against humanity” (defined as including attacks “on human dignity”).

There are very good reasons the U.S. refused to join the so-called “war crimes court” when it was founded in Rome in 2002. Too often when America exercises its powers to defend itself and the rest of the free world against terrorism, the thanks we get from much of the rest of the free world comes in the form of ridicule and abuse — extending even to charges of war crimes.

John Brennan, head of the White House homeland security office, may have announced Thursday that we are no longer fighting a global “war on terrorism” against jihadists. But the fact is that virtually every U.S. military action in post-World War II leads to condemnation from some European political or intellectual quarter.

Consider the infamous “Russell Tribunal.” As early as 1966, personages of no less academic caliber than Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre were joining with black American novelist James Baldwin and Black Panther Stokely Carmichael to form an “International War Crimes Tribunal.”

That body’s sole purpose was to find “the United States government guilty of genocide against the people of Vietnam,” which was the Russell Tribunal’s unanimous verdict.

If we were to join such a politically charged global kangaroo court, neither our servicemen and women nor our politicians would be safe from being transported “beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses.”

Yet our newest high court justice in April told the Puerto Rican ACLU that she agrees with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “that unless American courts are more open to discussing the ideas raised by foreign cases and by international cases that we are going to lose influence in the world.”

Doing otherwise is “asking American judges to … close their minds,” according to Sonia Sotomayor, because “ideas have no boundaries. Ideas are what set our creative juices flowing. They permit us to think.”

When Alexander Hamilton wrote that “the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power,” he didn’t realize we would have an entire political ideology — now rooted everywhere from the State Department to Congress to the federal judiciary — eager to give away American sovereignty to foreign jurisdictions.

Americans have enough trouble dealing with the liberal activists twisting our own laws in our own courts. The last thing we need are the “creative juices” of foreign courts and foreign laws.


our comments

Soto doesn’t know American history


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