- The Washington Times - Friday, March 11, 2005

“Our Constitution,” John Quincy Adams once wrote, “professedly rests upon the good sense and attachment of the people. This basis, weak as it may appear, has not yet been found to fail.” Until now, that is.

These are tough times for the document that governs our republic. As was once asked of President Bill Clinton, it could be asked today of our Constitution — is it relevant? Unfortunately, to many of our national leaders, it is not.

Last summer, our beloved State Department found it in its purview to issue gold-plated invitations to foreign busybodies from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor our federal elections. Clearly, one of the French wannabes at Foggy Bottom misread the Constitution, not understanding that our Founders gave to the “States” — not the “State Department” — the chore of conducting elections for federal office. In fairness to the State Department, they — in their convoluted way — were trying to protect the integrity of the elections after 13 Democrat House members — who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution — demanded international election monitors from the United Nations.

But while the U.N. didn’t get to oversee our elections, they may yet get to govern America’s use of the seas. In January, during her confirmation hearings as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice expressed her firm support — and that of her boss — for the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty. Among its many faults, this treaty grants the U.N. authority to levy taxes — a power the Boys of Philadelphia reserved for the House of Representatives.

Two weeks ago, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s World Health Organization announced another treaty — the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control — had become international law after ratification by only 20 percent of the world’s countries. The treaty, which the Bush administration signed last May, demands curbs on tobacco advertisements and hefty taxes on tobacco products. It seeks to expand New York City’s “Bloomberg Doctrine” that tobacco may not be used anywhere at any time.

Then, last week, five jug-headed jurists on the Supreme Court invoked international law, European opinion and a concept they dubbed “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society,” to find in the Constitution a right of immunity from the death penalty for minors.

In Roper v. Simmons, the court’s “Creative Coalition” — Justices Anthony Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — were desperate to enact a policy. But lacking logic and domestic precedent, they turned to the wisdom of the international community — which, oddly, wasn’t represented in Philadelphia in 1787.

“Our determination that the death penalty is disproportionate punishment for offenders under 18,” Justice Kennedy wrote, “finds confirmation in the stark reality that the United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile death penalty.”

The justices were not nearly as eager to cite the Constitution or the Federalist Papers as they are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, and a 1930 report from the British House of Commons’ Select Committee on Capital Punishment. They reason it is “proper” to rely upon the “overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty.”

Justice Kennedy argued, “It does not lessen our fidelity to the Constitution or our pride in its origins” to consider the opinions of socialists, Third Worlders and global vagabonds.

But it’s not enough to take the Supreme Court to task and give the Congress a pass. Members of Congress who profess fidelity to the Constitution should set aside opinions of the court — such as Roper v. Simmons — which are poorly reasoned and rely heavily on international law. After that, they should consider impeaching justices and judges who put more faith in the Charter of the United Nations than their own Constitution.

The Supremes, however, have a chance to redeem themselves when Medellin v. Dretke is argued later this month. Jose Ernesto Medellin is a Mexican national who, along with his friends, in June 1993, viciously raped and murdered two teenage girls. Mexico has taken Medellin’s case all the way to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and argued that because he was not invited to contact the Mexican Embassy after his arrest, he should not be put to death. The ICJ agreed and ordered the United States to review Medellin’s case along with 50 other Mexicans on death row in the U.S.

Jose Ernesto Medellin and his friends have exhausted their options for manipulating the Constitution, so they have turned to Kofi’s courts for appeal. Will the justices of the Supreme Court accommodate their request — or will they “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”?

Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Alliance, a foundation dedicated to preserving U.S. sovereignty.

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