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    Friday, March 04, 2005

    United States Supreme Court Bases Opinion on International Law, Violates Tenth Amendment

    Story dated 03 March 2005

    In Roper v. Simmons, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it is not permissible to put vicious murderers, who just happen to be under the age of 18, to death. The main problem I have with this ruling is that the Supreme Court based its decision largely on international precedents. Well, that's a bit outside their sphere, I think -- I mean, considering that the function of the Supreme Court is to make sure our laws conform the Constitution of these United States.

    "The Court's majority looked to international law in overturning a sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, but that was a brief reference. In Roper, the Court lavishes page after page of attention on the views of courts in Canada and Europe. It attends to the views of the United Nations as well.

    Basically, the Supreme Court is now allowing international opinion to be a controlling factor in how they rule. This violates their oath to uphold the Constitution. If they could have found a way to rule against the execution of pre-18 year old murderers based solely on a provision of our Constitution, I believe the justices would have done so. However, the Constitution does not provide guidance here, so these justices relied on foreign precedent. In essence, they allow foreign precedent to be controlling in how our Constitution will be interpreted (regarding what it will permit or deny absent a clear statement on the topic). And this violates the Constitution -- specifically usurping the 'gap-filling' function of the Tenth Amendment.

    The Tenth Article of Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Okay, so what does that mean? Well, I like to think that it means what it says. Believe it or not, you don't need to be a lawyer or a law-school trained judge to figure it out. All you need is the ability to read and to think logically. It says clearly and distinctly that the United States (that's the federal government -- including the Supreme Court) only has the powers that are delegated to it by the Constitution. The States, and the people, on the other hand, have all of the powers that the Constitution neither permits to the United States, nor prohibits to the States. Now, a reasonable analyst might conclude, then, that if the Supreme Court cannot tell by reading the text of the Constitution itself whether or not something is permitted, then that is a power reserved to the States or to the people. Assuming the above is true, if the Supreme Court defaults to international precedent as a gap-filling measure -- to make the Constitution grant a power where it does not specifically do so -- then its action violates the Tenth Amendment, which is the Constitution's built-in gap-filler. Q.E.D.

    It is my belief, based on the above analysis, that the Justices who relied on international law and opinion in Roper have violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and they need to be held accountable. Article I Section 2 Clause 5 of the Constitution delegates to the House of Representatives "the sole Power of Impeachment." Article II Section 4 states that "the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." A Justice of the Supreme Court is a civil officer. To blatantly breach one's oath of office is (or ought to be), at the very least, a misdemeanor (you know, lying under oath before a federal official). At worst, it's treason, but impeachment for treason is a bit more complicated in this day in age. I think that the proper response to the Roper ruling would be for our Representatives to impeach the offending justices. But I doubt they have the courage.
    ---------Judicial Jeopardy
    ---------The emperors' black robes


    Blogger Scriptor said...

    What is so special about being 18 anyway? Did somebody a long time ago say 18 was the magical age? Does getting some roll of paper from a school all of a sudden turn you into a really important person? Even my parents once told me, you can't talk politics to us until you're 18.

    3/08/2005 9:59 AM  

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