I assume they’ll have a field day with this over at Bench Memos, but today’s front-page NYT piece on the waning popularity of our Constitution as a model for other countries is a hoot. The basic message is that our post-American legal elites disdain the Constitution as archaic, too hard to change, and just too darn American. (I’m not sure why they think it’s too hard to change — judges have been gutting it for decades now.) It’s also “terse and old” and “parsimonious” in guaranteeing rights. Some of its provisions are “outliers,” like the right to bear arms and separation of church and state, while it’s “out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care.” As a result:
Many foreign judges say they have become less likely to cite decisions of the United States Supreme Court, in part because of what they consider its parochialism.
“America is in danger, I think, of becoming something of a legal backwater,” Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said in a 2001 interview. He said that he looked instead to India, South Africa and New Zealand.
“Parochialism” is the post-American word for “sovereignty,” which persists despite the best efforts of transnational progressives like President Obama, Justice Ginsburg and their ilk. The basic question really is whether Americans will rule themselves or be ruled by others. Wait, I think there’s a new book that explores that very question!