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The Almost French Thirteenth Amendment

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1 Response

  1. Simon says:

    Nate,

    I’m not sure how serious you are here, but why would those who are opposed to citing foreign law to explain the meaning of the Constitution be any more worried that Senator Sumner would have borrowed the language of French revolutionaries than they are that the Framers were influenced by (among other things) the writing of the Frenchman Montesquieu, for example? The argument isn’t that it’s improper to look to foreign law to decide what legislation or constitutional amendments to adopt, the argument is that once those provisions have been adopted, one must look to what those provisions meant when they were adopted, not to what the world thinks today if it was approaching the issue anew. Thus, the bill of rights borrowed concepts from the common law, and in the fourth amendment, for example, we might permissably look to how the common law treated an issue (e.g. Wilson v. Arkansas), but we wouldn’t look at, for example, how the Morrocan courts have understood a “search” in the last decade.