Thursday, August 7, 2008
The National Law Journal reports that Justice Kennedy spoke in defense of citing to foreign and international law sources in judicial opinions.
In the 5-4 decision in Roper v. Simmons, which barred executions of juveniles who were under the age of 18 years old at the time of their offenses, Justice Kennedy wrote that the position of the majority against the death penalty for children was affirmed by most other countries.
The reference to foreign and international law drew great criticism from those who did not closely read the opinion and who mistakenly thought that the U.S. Supreme Court was relying upon foreign law to interpret the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court was doing no such thing -- the opinion showed only that the result being reached by the Court was consistent with the laws of other nations.
Justice Kennedy's remarks to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference support the citation of foreign and international law sources where appropriate. Click here to read more.