Monday, March 07, 2005

Selective Cites (Take 2)

Question: What is the definition of "intellectualism?"
Answer Intellectualism, to a liberal, is the ability to justify his/her own irrational opinions in a sea of common sense.

One of the first posts I wrote for the Flaming Duck talked about the citing of "convenient quotes" to make a point. As a point of proof, I used a televised discussion between Breyer and Scalia. In this discussion, Justice Scalia condemned the Supreme Court practice of relying on International law to support US court decisions. You may read my original post here. Please note how Justice Scalia compares the reliance on international law for rulings concerning the Miranda Rule but ignoring international law when it comes to abortion issues.

Well the same thing has happened again. In authoring the majority opinion in Roper v. Simmons, Justice Kennedy again relies heavily on international law in order to justify changing his mind. In this article for the Weekly Standard, John Hinderaker calls the apparent contradiction a "naked flip-flop". (hat tip to Professor Bainbridge)

In a previous decision, Kennedy held that executing a juvenile was constitutional. In Roper he used international law to find that executing a juvenile was unconstitutional. This time a liberal justice used international law to essentially overturn his own previous decision. In Kennedy’s own words:
The opinion of the world community, while not controlling the outcome, does provide respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions…It does not lessen our fidelity to the Constitution or our pride in its origins to acknowledge that the express affirmations of certain fundamental rights by other nations and peoples simply underscores the centrality of those same rights within our own heritage of freedom.

What? Is it constitutional or not? Where is the intellectualism in that!