Moving ideas around the world

How much sense does it make, in today’s globalized world, to be a strenuous nationalist in judicial matters? Not much, if you ask me.

In a recent article published by Newsweek, Stuart Taylor Jr. and Evan Thomas were somewhat critical of Harold Hongju Koh and how his probable confirmation as top legal adviser to the State Department “could erode American democracy and sovereignty.”

Let me start off by saying that the article’s authors do no justice to Koh by citing Edward Whelan, the head of a conservative Washington policy group named Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Koh is “all about depriving American citizens of their powers of representative government by selectively imposing on them the favored policies of Europe’s leftist elites,” said Whelan.

The problem with this quote? It is left out to hang, without a response from another voice.

Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy has been influenced by European law and jurisprudence by spending many summers in Vienna, where he would talk with famous international judges and lawyers. Does that mean he selectively chooses to apply European standards to American law? I doubt it.

The world that is being shaped today is so interconnected it is hard to remain isolated. Instead of trying to fight and resist this process of internationalization, judges and lawyers should take the time to discuss, analyze and exchange views between different judicial cultures.

The result can easily be a positive one, for it is only through the combination and mixture of ideas that great results can be obtained. Ideas would travel around the world and a new global jurisprudence might accompany the global society that is being created.


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