Thursday, September 18, 2008

NYT Article: International Influence of US Supreme Court Down, Supreme Court of Canada Up

An article in yesterday's New York Times discusses the waning influence of the U.S. Supreme Court in the eyes of non-American judges.

The article, entitled U.S. Court Is Now Guiding Fewer Nations , describes how the number of foreign cases that cite the top American court has been declining. This is true for Australia, Canada and the European Court of Human Rights.

Reporter Adam Liptak offers a number of explanations:
"The rise of new and sophisticated constitutional courts elsewhere is one reason for the Supreme Court’s fading influence, legal experts said. The new courts are, moreover, generally more liberal than the Rehnquist and Roberts courts and for that reason more inclined to cite one another."

"Another reason is the diminished reputation of the United States in some parts of the world, which experts here and abroad said is in part a consequence of the Bush administration’s unpopularity around the world (...)"

"The adamant opposition of some Supreme Court justices to the citation of foreign law in their own opinions also plays a role, some foreign judges say."
Canadian readers will certainly be interested in what the article has to say about the Supreme Court of Canada:
"Many legal scholars singled out the Canadian Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of South Africa as increasingly influential."

" 'In part, their influence may spring from the simple fact they are not American,' Dean [Anne-Marie] Slaughter [Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton] wrote in a 2005 essay, 'which renders their reasoning more politically palatable to domestic audience in an era of extraordinary U.S. military, political, economic and cultural power and accompanying resentments'."

"Frederick Schauer, a law professor at the University of Virginia, wrote in a 2000 essay that the Canadian Supreme Court had been particularly influential because 'Canada, unlike the United States, is seen as reflecting an emerging international consensus rather than existing as an outlier'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:49 pm


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