Tag Archives: law

Foreign Laws

This was the second half of my last post. However, I think it stands on its own better than as a part of that one, so here it is again:

The idea of using foreign laws to influence American court decisions has always been repulsive to me. Foreign laws are made by foreign leaders using foreign methods to meet foreign needs. While there are certainly elements common to all humanity, there are also regional variations based on geography, culture, and other factors that cannot allow a cookie-cutter mentality toward shaping laws. This applies within the 50 United States. What works in Maine might not necessarily work in Arizona. It applies even more so from one country to another. Foreign laws are also made by foreign legislatures whose methods might be illegal in the U.S. We are bound by our constitution, not foreign constitutions.

Foreign law might work for foreign countries, but it often goes against our laws, our traditions, our culture, our Constitution, and our liberty. If people want to adopt an idea from another country, let them put it before the Congress, or the state legislatures. Let our legislators study them, debate them, and modify them as necessary to meet our needs. Using foreign ideas to influence American court decisions thus bypassing the people’s elected representatives is a subversion of the sovereignty of the people and is (in my mind) close to treason.

Besides, it just doesn’t fit. The culture, economies, people, traditions, and constitutions of other countries are sufficiently different from ours to render them functionally incompatible. Trying to use foreign law to render court decisions in the U.S. is like trying to play Monopoly using the rules from Risk.

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Anchor Babies and Foreign Laws

In her column of 8/18/2010, Ann coulter makes yet another obzervation regarding liberal hypocrisy.

Liberals/progressives/leftists in this country constantly try to get U.S. courts to make decisions based not on U.S. law, but on foreign law. There is, however, one notable exception: anchor babies.

But when it comes to anchor babies, The New York Times and the entire Democratic establishment plug their ears and hum rather than consider foreign laws on citizenship. (For more on this, see “Mexican immigration law versus U.S. immigration law.”)

Needless to say, America is the only developed nation that allows illegal aliens to gain full citizenship for their children merely by dropping them on U.S. soil.

The article goes on to cite the immigration policies of Sweden (usually a leftist’s dream), Britain, and Canada. Looks like we are the only ones to allow anchor babies. Of course, the left would argue that the 14th Amendment causes that, but the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” does not require that interpretation.

Anyway, the idea of using foreign laws to influence American court decisions has always been repulsive to me. Foreign laws are made by foreign leaders using foreign methods to meet foreign needs. While there are certainly elements common to all humanity, there are also regional variations based on geography, culture, and other factors that cannot allow a cookie-cutter mentality toward shaping laws. This applies within the 50 United States. What works in Maine might not necessarily work in Arizona. It applies even more so from one country to another. Foreign laws are also made by foreign legislatures whose methods might be illegal in the U.S. We are bound by our constitution, not foreign constitutions.

Foreign law might work for foreign countries, but it often goes against our laws, our traditions, our culture, our Constitution, and our liberty. If people want to adopt an idea from another country, let them put it before the Congress, or the state legislatures. Let our legislators study them, debate them, and modify them as necessary to meet our needs. Using foreign ideas to influence American court decisions thus bypassing the people’s elected representatives is a subversion of the sovereignty of the people and is (in my mind) close to treason.

Besides, it just doesn’t fit. The culture, economies, people, traditions, and constitutions of other countries are sufficiently different from ours to render them functionally incompatible. Trying to use foreign law to render court decisions in the U.S. is like trying to play Monopoly using the rules from Risk.

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Law of unintended consequences

Every law has unintended consequences. We don’t usually find out about them until it’s too late and the cure is sometimes worse than the disease.

I just thought of a possible one for Obamacare.

It’s been thoroughly discussed that “children” may be left on their parent’s insurance through 26 years old. Now combine this with the mandate to purchase and you have an interesting possible scenario:

Mom and Dad want/need to remove an 18-26 year old adult “child” from their insurance policy (for any of various reasons). Will they be able to? Since this adult is legally dependent on them (in at least one way) are they still legally responsible for the mandate to purchase for their “child”?

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Questions We Should Ask About a Constitutional Convention

Updated 3/30/2010, 4/22/2010, 4/24/2010

Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that an amendment to the US Constitution may be proposed by the Congress or by a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Such a convention is called by Congress after two-thirds of the states petition them to call it. A Convention has never been called, as the threat of calling for one is often sufficient to force Congress to propose the desired amendment.

There have been some who have said that we need to call a Constitutional Convention to bring forth term limits, protect some right, or pursue some other worthy cause via Constitutional amendment. Of course, others have wondered if such a convention would choose to disregard our current Constitution and forge a new one, as the first Constitutional Convention did.  One then has to wonder what such a new Constitution would say.  However, all the speculation that I have heard ended there. 

Let us ask a few further questions:

Would the proceedings be open to public viewing or scrutiny?

Would the proceedings be in secret?

If such a new Constitution were produced, what means would be set to ratify it?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution nullify the old one, even if the new one were rejected?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution dissolve the union?

What about a new Constitution that was not ratified:
     How long would the possibility of ratification remain?
     Again, would the old Constitution be nullified or the union dissolved?

What about a new Constitution that was ratified:
     Would a state that refused to ratify be bound by the new Constitution?
     Would they be out of the union?
     Would they be forced to obey a Constitution that they rejected?

Before dismissing any of this as idle speculation or stupid questions, let’s remember that we are in uncharted territory here. Anything could happen at a Constitutional Convention.

These questions and others need to be considered before an action as drastic as a Constitutional Convention is considered.

Personally, I hope it never comes to that.


3/30/2010
I am not opposed to the idea of calling a convention in theory.
However. I am still not completely sold on the necessity of the idea. Also, I am still not sure that the outcome would be beneficial to the cause of limited government.

Satellite radio talker Mike Church is a major proponent of the Article V Convention and has planned a conference to discuss the issue on April 9, 2010. Linked article includes a summary of proposed amendments.


4/22/2010
Mike Church has made available the audio from the town hall conference on April 9, 2010.

Here it is.

I have listened to the audio. They have answered some of the questions that I have asked above.

I am not completely sold yet, but am more in favor of the idea than I was.


4/24/2010
I do believe that we need to amend the Constitution to safeguard our liberties, though. If things keep going the way they are, I should reach 100% support of this idea soon.


Other relevant posts of mine:

Term Limits Amendment


For more info:
Article 5 of the Constitution
Convention to propose amendments
State ratifying conventions
Forbes.com A Bill Of Federalism by Randy E. Barnett – proposed amendments

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H.R. 3200 (the healthcare bill) Is Unconstitutional Ex Post Facto Law.

 “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.”    – excerpt from H.R. 3200 (the healthcare bill)

Correct me if I’m reading this wrong, but doesn’t that back date the law’s effectiveness to January 1, 2009?  Let’s say I took out a policy on February 1, 2009. If this bill becomes law, would it render my policy illegal?

“No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” – U.S. Constitution: Article 1, Section 9.  An ex post facto law is a retroactive law, that is, one that makes something illegal before the law was passed.

Could someone explain to me how this is not an unconstitutional ex post facto law? If my reading of the bill is correct, it would render any policy made on or after January 1, 2009 null and void after the fact.

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