Justices discuss criticism, spar over international law in rare joint interview

[JURIST] Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Stephen Breyer, and Antonin Scalia gave candid reactions to recent criticisms of the "activist" federal judiciary in a rare joint interview-cum-converation moderated by NBC's Tim Russert at the National Archives Thursday. O'Connor and Breyer agreed that such criticism was "nothing new," pointing out that sometimes the issues before federal courts trigger strong emotions. Specifically responding to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's recent comments criticizing Justice Anthony Kennedy's citations of international law [JURIST report] in a recent opinion barring the execution of minors [JURIST report], Justice Scalia agreed that the opinions and feelings of other countries should have no bearing on death penalty jurisprudence in the US. Justice Breyer disagreed, however, saying that while practices in other countries should not bind the US, it is appropriate in some instances to take note of what happens around the world. The New York Times has more [free registration required].

 

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