COLUMBUS, Ohio – In wide-ranging remarks here, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the use of foreign law by American judges, suggested that torture should not be used even when it might yield important information and reflected on her role as the Supreme Court’s only female justice. The occasion was a symposium at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University honoring her 15 years on the court.
“I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law,” Justice Ginsburg said in her comments on Friday.
The court’s more conservative members – Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas – oppose the citation of foreign law in constitutional cases.
“If we’re relying on a decision from a German judge about what our Constitution means, no president accountable to the people appointed that judge and no Senate accountable to the people confirmed that judge,” Chief Justice Roberts said at his confirmation hearing. “And yet he’s playing a role in shaping the law that binds the people in this country.”
Tags: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, foreign law, John G. Roberts Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel A. Alito Jr.