Title: Should International and Foreign Law and Global Considerations Shape Supreme Court Rulings?
It had long been debated whether the United States Supreme Court should consider international laws or other global regulations when establishing court decisions. The main issue here is that the United States Supreme Court has no regulations, from the Constitution or elsewhere, that determine whether or not it can use these non-domestic regulations in determining a court ruling. In the past, the Supreme Court has often reviewed international laws not only to aid in determining the outcome of specific court cases, but in interpreting certain Constitutional provisions.
Currently, there is no regulation, mandate or other specification dictating how or when the Supreme Court may use international law in court proceedings. As a result, there are many arguments both for and against the use of these interpretation practices in the Supreme Court. For those against the use of foreign law and global consideration in the Supreme Court, the practice is deemed as unconstitutional. The only laws that should apply to United States Supreme Court cases should be the laws written and accepted by the United States. Anything more or less than that goes against the personal freedoms of citizens in the United States. Some would even go so far as to state the democratic system of the U.S. is undermined by using foreign laws in Supreme Court cases.
Another issue is that Supreme Court justices, as they exist without direction, interpret and apply international law without regulation. There is no method to using global considerations in the Supreme Court, and this makes the entire practice questionable and unpredictable. As a result, many individuals believe that international and foreign laws should not be held in consideration when the U.S. Supreme Court is ruling judgment.
However, the use of international law in the Supreme Court can also be beneficial. It can help to outline and define constitutional law that may be difficult to interpret in every given situation. It also helps justices interpret the meaning of United States law in a global context and come to lawful conclusions when certain cases may involve international aspects. Many countries, such as South Africa, have mandates in place that allow Supreme Courts to use international laws as interpretational methods, and the result is of benefit to the country.
It would seem that until an established, step-by-step process is firmly in place for the Supreme Court regarding how and when to use international or foreign law in court cases, that such considerations should not be used in Supreme Court rulings. Until such a program is in place to help Supreme Court justices determine when to utilize foreign law, the Supreme Court should be hesitant of consulting international regulations.