Today the House Judiciary Committee will hear Senate Bill 97 by Senator Keith Regier from Kalispell. The bill, although simple in construct, is highly controversial and passed both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate floor on party-line votes. Nearly all Republicans voted “yes” and all Democrats voted “no.” In essence, the bill would prohibit the application of foreign law in state courts when those laws violate a fundamental right guaranteed by either the Montana or United States Constitution. Seems simple enough: Why would a court apply any law from any source that violates Constitutional rights? It defies logic. But this is where logic collides head-on with political correctness.
The issue first came to a head back in 2003 when then Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Reagan appointee and the first woman appointed to the Court, was making a speech to the Southern Center for International Studies. In that speech, she said American courts need to pay more attention to international legal decisions to help create a more favorable impression abroad. She specifically cited the case of Lawrence v. Texas where the court relied partially on European court decisions to overturn a longstanding Texas anti-sodomy law. She then went on to say, “I suspect that over time, we will rely increasingly, or take notice at least increasingly, on international and foreign courts in examining domestic issues.” She concluded by saying that doing so may not only enrich our own country’s decisions but may create that all-important “good impression.”
Justice Ginsberg, when asked to comment on Justice O’Connor’s remarks, said, “I will seek wisdom wherever I can find it.” Justice Stephen Breyer went even further. He said he and Justice O’Connor and others see how the world really is growing together through commerce, through globalization, through the spread of domestic institutions, through immigration to America. It’s becoming more and more one world of many different kinds of people, and how they’re going to live together across the world will be the challenge, and whether our Constitution and how it fits into the governing documents of other nations, I think, will be a challenge for the next generations.
Do you see the flaw in that line of reasoning? Justices O’Connor, Ginsberg, Breyer and others are far too willing to cast our Constitution and our national sovereignty aside for their globalist utopian dreams. If the courts increasingly rely on foreign law, then you and I lose our voice. We have no way to effect foreign law, yet for all intents and purposes, we become subservient to it. Is this what we want? Do we want the laws of China or the Middle East or, heaven forbid, the bureaucratic nightmare of the European union or the United Nations to trump our Constitution?
We applaud Senator Regier for bringing this bill forward, and we encourage Governor Bullock to sign it. National sovereignty equals national freedom. And I, for one, don’t want to be treated as a de facto citizen of another nation.