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Due to space constraints, Doc’s Digest did not appear in the January/February 2010 issue. Doc’s Digest will resume publication on a new rotating schedule beginning in the March/April issue.
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by Michael P. Farris
- disclaimer -
Excerpt: Response to International Amici Brief

The International Amici implore this Court to follow the example of the Declaration of Independence in reaching its decision. With this idea, we fully agree. However, we respectfully suggest that the International Amici radically misunderstand the meaning of the declaration and its applicability to this case.

The International Amici attempt to make much of Jefferson’s phrase: “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” This does not mean, as the amici suggest, that the declaration’s signers employed international law to reach their decision to throw off the shackles of bondage. The whole point of the declaration was that the American people were finished with the idea of being governed by others from across the sea.

The preceding phrase is the most pertinent. The United States were to “assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them.”

Michael P. Farris
HSLDA/Kimberlee Hart

The basis for our independence was not international law but natural law. And the fundamental purpose of the document was to tell the other nations of the world that we were separate from them and equal to them. Good diplomatic sense says that we would explain our actions to other nations. However, this document stands for the exact opposite of the proposition that America should be governed by the laws and rules of other nations.

It is nearly unthinkable that an array of international organizations would file a brief in this Court arguing that the United States is bound by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty that it has not agreed to, on the basis of the cumulative effect of the laws of the rest of the world. But the unthinkable becomes bizarre when these amici claim that the Declaration of Independence supports this proposition.

We respectfully suggest that the International Amici are asking this Court to take action that would violate one of the most fundamental principles of international law. “The right of peoples to self-determination” is one of the principles that most commentators agree falls within the doctrine of jus cogens.

The coerced use of international law on an unwilling nation is in itself a violation of a peremptory norm of human rights. Article I Section 1 and the 10th Amendment of our Constitution contain the most important principles. All law-making power for the American people rests in the Congress of the United States, the several states, or the people themselves.