Saturday, November 27, 2004

Breyer & Scalia to discuss foreign precedents at American University (Adv.)

US Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Breyer will be at Washington College of Law, American University, in Washington DC, where I teach law, to discuss the question of whether and to what extent foreign cases, such as constitutional decisions of European or other courts, should have a place in US constitutional law. The date is Thursday, January 13, 2005, at 4:00 pm, and as we get closer to the date, more information will be available at the WCl website. The event is jointly sponsored by WCL-American University and the US Association for Constitutional Law, which is a scholarly association for international and comparative constitutional law studies (it is the US affiliate of the International Association), of which I am treasurer and a board member. The discussion between the Justices will be moderated by Professor Norman Dorsen of NYU Law School, who is the founding president of the US Association.

In the last several years, the topic has become hotly debated by international and comparative law scholars. Justice Breyer has cited various foreign decisions in his opinions in recent years, and Justice Scalia has been critical of the trend. The issue is given an airing by Anne-Marie Slaughter in her new book, A New World Order (Princeton UP 2004), at chapter 3; it is a careful and fair-minded summary of the debate, although Slaughter herself is strongly supportive of Justice Breyer's position. I myself support Justice Scalia's view, and explain why in a review essay of Slaughter's book in a forthcoming (February 2005) Harvard Law Review issue.

We are still in discussion with the Justices as to what kind of press coverage they will allow; we would like CSPAN and a live internet feed, but it is unclear what will be permitted. My own preference is a live internet feed and various live bloggers around the scholarly world, but we shall see. I will keep this updated.

No comments: