Elena Kagan and international law: a European moment

Every now and then, “Europeans” become a united entitiy, marvelling at something in US American politics. This week’s European moment for me concerns the recent confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan, discussed in an editorial in today’s New York Times.

At one point, Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican of Iowa, noted with scorn that Harvard Law School, where Ms. Kagan had been dean, required first-year students to study international law. Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican of Oklahoma, asked why Ms. Kagan thought it was acceptable to use foreign law to interpret the Constitution, which she retorted was almost never the case. Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican of Arizona, summed it up: “I’m troubled by it,” not because foreign law would create a United States precedent, but “because it suggests that you could turn to foreign law to get good ideas.”

Heaven forbid. Looking  a-b-r-o-a-d  for good ideas.

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