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Supreme Court linking: What Justice Roberts could learn by blogging

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September 19, 2005

Supreme Court linking: What Justice Roberts could learn by blogging

Stephen Baker

How is Judge John Roberts like mainstream media, while Justice Anthony Kennedy thinks more like a blogger? It boils down to links. Kennedy, as described in this excellent profile, favors citing foreign cases in his Supreme Court opinons. When Kennedy describes his philosophy of citing these opinions, he describes a dynamic that sounds like blogs.

“The European courts, in particular the transnational courts, have been somewhat concerned, and some feel demeaned, that we did not cite their decisions with more regularity,” he said. “They cite ours all the time. And, basically, they were saying, ‘Why should we cite yours if you don’t cite ours?’

With his interest in linking to other courts, Kennedy places the United States judicial system within a global community. That's more like the blog world. Chief Justice nominee Roberts, by contrast, has said in Senate testimony that the U.S. court should make do without the foreign input. Implicitly, in this view, to cite others is to give them power. Sounds a bit like MSM to me.

02:22 PM


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Did anyone else feel that Roberts did a terrible job in testifying. Is it now alright to refuse to give your opinion on past decisions, current social problems and the like? I don't think our Founding Fathers intended nominees to refuse to answer questions when faced with the advice and consent of Congress. Some may say he was brilliant. I would prefer to hear a real candidate answer questions candidly and not play this game of hide and seek with the Senators. Makes a mockery of the entire process imho.

Posted by: Robert Freedland at September 20, 2005 12:27 AM

The USA broke from the European nations by starting a nation unlike any of theirs -- no aristocracy, no state-funded churches, locating authority for power in the people rather than the states, etc.

In recent years, we've largely turned away from a flirtation with the socialist, cradle-to-grave cocoon of government "help," which the Western European states have yet to embrace -- and are suffering greatly for in terms of economic paralysis in the face of aggressive Asian business.

Morally, states like France and Germany are in a swamp -- they have no idea how to counter Islamofascism, other than appeasement. They have no idea what they stand for -- what their ideals are other than survival, good food and outdoor cafes. Doctors in the Netherlands are practicing euthanasia on a daily basis, looking to "quality" of life instead of sanctity of life as their supreme guide. And Europeans are so embarrassed by their Christian heritage that they could hardly bring themselves to mention this great cultural differentiator in their new EU Constitution.

My point is this: the USA is not like other nations, even our Western European cousins. Just as there's no reason in the world why we should yield our political or military sovereignty to the United Nations, there's no reason why we should yield our judicial sovereignty to Europe or anyone else. We have nothing to gain, and very much to lose, by ceding judicial autonomy and tying ourselves to foreign legal precedents based on amoral philosophies. We literally have nothing to learn from their example.

Posted by: Don at September 20, 2005 09:13 AM

The trouble with the European courts is that they always hand down the most integrationist decision available. This leads to a progressive ratcheting away of democratic accountability from Nation States to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. I can't recall if Roberts has been selected yet or not, but if he has, my deepest commiserations.

Posted by: John Evans (SYNTAGMA) at September 20, 2005 09:59 AM

I can accept that Europeans often view the world differently. But to say that we have nothing to learn from them is a bit extreme. They're wrestling with many of the same issues we are, from privacy in the age of the Internet to right-to-die. I do not believe that to learn from them and link to them is to cede authority. More important, I think, is the point Kennedy makes. If we want much of the world to develop into a community of shared democratic values, then it's a healthy thing to show that we pay attention to others.

Posted by: steve baker at September 20, 2005 11:27 AM

I tend to ignore Europe in general. I try not to pay much mind to the Middle East. As far as our new partners in Japan go, I drive a Buick and Dodge guys. I've been to Canada, but I don't pay attention to Canada on a daily basis. You have to put your own country first. People want to save the world, but nobody wants to rake the leaves or clean the gutters on Saturday mornings. It's nice to write about it and pretend it is important. It is a good excuse to not take out the trash or do the simple stuff which is no fun. The world is screwed up and if the Supreme Court could only fix everything up with some blogging, I'd be all for it. Chances are it won't happen. They don't really care about what you think. They don't get paid what somebody important gets paid, like a gangsta rapper or a linebacker in the NFL. Those are the people with the real power in the United States. All the judge can do is take notes, think for himself and try to survive this crazy world along with the rest of us. Blogging won't make anybody any more secure or make a judge any better for knowing. With blogging, you may be better off not knowing and not caring. Look out for Europe if you are in Europe. Don't try spending Euros in Brooklyn!

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at September 20, 2005 12:27 PM

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