Friday, June 17, 2005

(Dis)respecting the opinions of mankind ...

Eugene Kontorovich, of George Mason law school and visiting at University of Chicago law school, has a fascinating short article in Green Bag on the origins and meaning of the famous phrase, now cliche, "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind," in the opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. The short version? That phrase does not mean what Justice Breyer seems to think it means. Read it on SSRN, here.

(I wish I had seen this article while I was writing my own article on foreign law in US constitutional adjudication for Policy Review, which I have talked about in earlier posts.)

(Update, June 18, 2005: Opinio Juris has an excellent discussion with Peggy McGuinness, Roger Alford, and Eugene Kontorovich on the Kontorovich article. Here is the link directly to Kontorovich's response to McGuinness; scroll back to get the beginning of the thread.)

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