Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Volokh has an interesting rumination on the Supreme Court's citing of foreign legal authority in Lawrence.

I think there's another point worth making, though. In my view, a careful reading of Justice Kennedy's opinion shows that he was not citing the European authorities as persuasive precedent the way state courts sometimes cite decisions from other states. He was citing that authority for one purpose only--to rebut the asserted factual premise of the holding in Bowers that criminalization of homosexual practices is a deeply rooted feature of western civilization. I don't think there's any valid objection to this particular use of foreign precedent, even if we are--as I think we should be--rightly wary of looking to the moral views of other countries as a way to interpret our own constitution.

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