The SDFLA Blog is dedicated to providing news and notes regarding federal practice in the Southern District of Florida. The New Times calls the blog "the definitive source on South Florida's federal court system." All tips on court happenings are welcome and will remain anonymous. Please email David Markus at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, September 18, 2008
While David battles the forces of evil in West Palm Beach (not to mention I-95 traffic) I have agreed to post some thought provoking articles. It's either my drivel or staring at David's post announcing the start of the Joe Cool trial for the next few weeks.
I realize this is the Federal Blog, and there is a certain level of decorum that is expected. (Click here for my idea of decorum). So I won't be duplicating my state court blog posts and ponder cross dressing judges or lawyers and clerks being caught under the bench canoodling. Just log on to the Broward Blog if you need more of that.
This NY Times Article on the diminishing impact of US Supreme Court decisions in foreign jurisdictions caught our eye. After years of Supreme Court Judges bashing Justice Kennedy and his citations to foreign decisions, the courts of other nations have decided to reciprocate.
From the article:
"One of our great exports used to be constitutional law," said Anne-Marie Slaughter, the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. "We are losing one of the greatest bully pulpits we have ever had."
From 1990 through 2002, for instance, the Canadian Supreme Court cited decisions of the United States Supreme Court about a dozen times a year, an analysis by The New York Times found. In the six years since, the annual citation rate has fallen by half, to about six.
Australian state supreme courts cited American decisions 208 times in 1995, according to a recent study by Russell Smyth, an Australian economist. By 2005, the number had fallen to 72.
Rumpole asks: does it matter? Do we want to be recognized and admired for our legal system, or do we just not give a damn about what the rest of the world thinks about us?
Personally, we think this just highlights a trend of diminishing American prestige and influence among the rest of the world.
When the Supreme Court issues decisions like it did in Bowles v. Russell, 551U.S. ____2007, closing the courthouse doors to a prisoner, who following a federal judge's instructions filed a notice of appeal on the 17th day after a decision, when the law only gave him 14 days, there is nothing much for us to be proud of. The decision in Bowles prompted this outburst from Justice Souter:"it is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way." He added, "There is not even a technical justification for condoning this bait and switch."
Based on how our system treats its own citizens, we think it's not surprising that the rest of the world relies less and less on what our judges write. Now how we treat our insurance companies and brokerage houses that go belly up- that's an entirely different story.