The Foreign-Law-and-the-US-Constitution Question for Supreme Court Nominees

by Kenneth Anderson

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) has recently begun a series of “daily questions” for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sotomayor.  The Friday, June 12 question is about interpretation of the US constitution and foreign and international law in relation thereto.  One thing that can safely be taken away from the last three Supreme Court confirmation processes is that this issue is here to stay; it will likely be a permanent part of the questioning of candidates to the Court. 

I happen to think (as will surprise no one), that this is a good and proper thing, but rather than wade (back) into that endless debate, I’ll just refer you to my views, here in Policy Review.  You can also read Roger’s views, which I cite a lot, in his article on this topic (he actually has a couple of articles on this).  Mostly I wanted to note as a matter of the sociology of the confirmation process, everyone will always be asked this.  

Just back from travels, I see with pleasure Mark Tushnet’s blog post here on his VJIL article.  If you would like to see (imho) one of the best articulated and argued views (mostly opposite to mine) on this topic of foreign law and US constitutional interpretation, see Mark’s splendid articles from a couple of years ago (I can’t seem to find the University of Baltimore, Vol. 35 essay online and open access).

(Also on the political process of confirmation hearings, I was interested to learn that my Volokh co-blogger Orin Kerr has taken an absence from the blog because he is acting as counsel to Senator Cornyn on the nomination process.  I didn’t know that things got all that involved, but as I have sometimes remarked, I’m not very clued-in about political process, despite being a Washington DC professor.  I hope that at some point Orin will share what he can about what all this role is about.)

2 Responses

  1. So why is “Treaty Interpretation” STILL the book of the month here at Opinio Juris?  Did somebody drop the ball on updating this?  Hasn’t it been the book of the month for about half a year?

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