Elena Kagan’s Reliance on Foreign Law Worries Pro-Life Group on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 21, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Elena Kagan’s Reliance on Foreign Law Worries Pro-Life Group on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 21
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Elena Kagan’s reliance on foreign law for statutory interpretation presents another concern for pro-life advocates, says Americans United for Life in a new memo about President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. The pro-life legal group says Kagan could use it as another basis to support legal abortions.

The use of foreign law in defending unlimited abortion "rights" as laid out in Roe v. Wade is nothing new for the pro-life movement.

It came up during the confirmation hearings on pro-abortion Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who pledged not to use it.

But the nomination of Kagan to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens raises anew the specter of jurists relying on international law and court decisions from abroad to firm up pro-abortion case law in the United States.

During her Senate confirmation hearings last year to become U.S. Solicitor General, lawmakers asked Kagan about the use of foreign law and she responded: "At least some members of the Court find foreign law relevant in at least some contexts.When this is the case, I think the Solicitor General’s office should offer reasonable foreign law arguments to attract these Justices’ support for the positions that the office is taking."

Americans United for Life takes that response as Kagan’s willingness to play ball when it comes to pushing foreign legal concepts in Americans courts, saying, "Kagan’s high regard for International and Comparative law comes as no surprise."

When it comes to Kagan’s personal use of foreign law, AUL says she’s pushed it — at the expense of American legal concepts.

"In addition to her admiration for judicial activist Judge Aharon Barak, who encourages judges to rely on Comparative law, Kagan led curriculum reforms in 2006 that changed Harvard Law School’s 100 year-old curriculum to require International and Comparative law," the memo notes. "What course is no longer required? Constitutional law. It became a course students could elect if they so desired."

"Our entire legal system is rooted in and dependent on the U.S. Constitution. To no longer require law students preparing to be lawyers to take Constitutional law is like ceasing to require medical students to take biology or accounting students to take math," the pro-life group says.

Kagan has defended her decision, saying “The courses in international and comparative law are opening up new questions and possibilities, showing choices made by different societies and challenges that arise from globalization, while also helping every student to locate American law in the larger map of laws, politics, and histories across the world.”

But AUL responds, "Would Kagan’s opinions as Supreme Court Justice rely on international laws and the “choices different societies” have made instead of the U.S. Constitution?"

AUL also cites other quotes from Kagan that it finds concerning.

As Dean of Harvard Law, Kagan said: “A great law school reflects in everything it does a global perspective and a global context.

Kagan also stated: “We must seek to train leaders—creative thinkers and problem solvers capable of designing new institutions to meet individual and social needs during a time of tremendous—perhaps unprecedented—social and economic change.”

AUL asks in its memo: "Would Kagan seek to make the Supreme Court “great” by reflecting a “global perspective and global context” in her judicial opinions? Would Kagan endeavor to create a “new” Supreme Court to meet the individual and social needs she values rather than adhere to the Constitution?"

The pro-life legal group calls on senators to ask Kagan tough questions about her reliance on foreign law during her confirmation hearings slated for June 28.

"Kagan led the reform of Harvard’s curriculum to emphasize International law and to de-emphasize American Constitutional law. She should be deeply questioned during her Senate hearings as to her view of the role of Constitutional law and International law in judicial decision-making," it concludes.

Related web sites:
Americans United for Life – https://www.AUL.org

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