[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] said Tuesday that the use of foreign law in US Supreme Court opinions is "anti-democratic" and "unworkable." In a speech [text] given at George Mason University Law School, Gonzales argued that "Foreign judges and legislators are not accountable to the American people. If our courts rely on a foreign judge's opinion or a foreign legislature's enactment, then that foreign judge or legislature binds us on key constitutional issues." Gonzales acknowledged that as a "practical matter" it "may be impossible for even the most conscientious judge to avoid being arbitrarily selective in the use of foreign law." Earlier this year, in reaching its 5-4 decision to outlaw the death penalty for juvenile killers in Roper v. Simmons [opinion text; JURIST report], the Supreme Court cited foreign sentiment against capital punishment for juveniles. AP has more.
Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...
- Roberts answers questions on civil rights, torture, foreign law as precedent
- Senate bill would discourage US courts from citing foreign precedent
- House Judiciary Chair says US sovereignty "imperiled" by Supreme Court reliance on foreign law