Not only does Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg think the Supreme Court and state courts should look to the laws of other countries as a guide when making decisions, she also would not suggest looking to the United States Constitution as a model for newly established governments in 2012.
Big government nanny state liberal justice. Hat tip to Phineas at Sister Toldjah. Ginsbury states…
You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary… It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution – Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?
Explosive? In her mind, not so much. She says the point is the US Constitution was written in a time so different then modern day, it should be more inclusive of modern-day concerns.
Ginsburg’s not a fan of a constitution that limits the rights of the government. She’d rather take the approach of creating a super-long document that covers everything she can think of from health care to Internet broadband access. You know, a second, all-inclusive “Bill of Rights” ignoring the fact true human rights must exist simultaneously between all people, and the exercising of one’s rights can not diminish the rights of another.
If you have a “right” to comfortable housing with a good-quality HVAC unit offering zero emissions so it protects the environment, who should pay for that? Ginsburg thinks the government should, justifying and legalizing the taking of property from one to distribute to another.
It’s disturbing to me Ginsburg feels so strongly against the value of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights that she’s more than willing to tell Arab states and other countries to ignore it in a public forum.
Eugene Volokh notes…
This criticism [against Ginsburg] strikes me as quite misplaced. Justice Ginsburg swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and I suspect she thinks that the U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. political practice, works pretty well in the U.S. But why should she (or we) think that the 1787 constitutional text, coupled with the 27 amendments that have come in fits and spurts since then, would necessarily work well for a completely different country today?
I certainly agree the United States’ version of our Constitution would not necessarily be a good fit for other countries, but I totally disagree Ginsburg thinks our Constitution works well for the United States. She wants the federal government to have the power to do even more.
AP at Hot Air…
I’m actually sort of charmed that a left-wing jurist thinks it matters much what’s written in a nation’s constitution. Our Supreme Court managed to tease a right to abortion out of a clause governing legal procedure, didn’t it? Seventy years earlier, a right-wing Court teased a right of contract out of the same provision. If you can do that, there ain’t much you can’t do.
Good point. We’ve got federal dollars being used to build brick crosswalks in local communities, and fund cops at a local level … so we’ve had the flood gates wide open since the New Deal. It is the disease from which all symptoms derive.