We the People

, Sarah Carlsruh, Leave a comment

Jeremy Rabkin, Professor of Law at George Mason University addressed the topic, “Are we outsourcing the U. S. Constitution?,” at an Accuracy in Academia Constitution Day author’s night on September 17th.
Rabkin, who specializes in international law, asserted that “there is an evolving global norm” to which some people think the U.S. Constitution should be adapted. He stated his concern that “some people think that international treaties should be taken up by American courts,” which he said worries him because international treaties potentially affect how the U.S. defines its Constitution. According to Rabkin, international laws should be “agreements among states, which [the U.S. will] observe if the other signatories observe.” He then pointed out what he saw as potential treaties that are perhaps a bit too ambitious, such as the current push to stop global warming.

He complained of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that “these people are going to tell [the U.S] when we can and cannot use force?” and claimed that members of the ICC are a bunch of people most citizens have never heard of.

Rabkin pointed to Europe as an example of how not to form a constitution, saying that the European Union Constitution was created by judges who did not consult the people and, consequently, “people in Europe are not attached” to it or each other. “They have a common constitution run by judges, but that is not enough,” he argued.

Rabkin noted the common bond that Americans feel, typified by the united reaction against the September 11th attacks. Adopting European Union cultures would make the U.S. fragmented, with, for example, people in California being indifferent because the attacks happened all the way in New York, he argued. “What makes us America is that we have this common constitution,” stated Rabkin. The U.S. requires those becoming naturalized citizens to declare an oath, he pointed out, adding that they must “promise to shoot anyone who is a domestic enemy.” Rabkin stated his conviction that it is “really important that the constitution begins with the words ‘we the people.’”

Sarah Carlsruh is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.