When Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made reference to international law in a recent decision, warning flags went up. Hinting that Americans before the high court should be judged on the basis of the legal systems of other nations seems, well, un-American.
Such tribunals were created by the North American Free Trade Agreement, and they have heard two challenges to American court judgments.
In the other case, the tribunal declared a Mississippi court’s judgment at odds with international law, leaving the U.S. government potentially liable for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Any Canadian or Mexican business claiming that it has been treated unjustly by the U.S. judicial system can file a similar claim. U.S. businesses with similar complaints about Canadian or Mexican court judgments can do the same. Under the NAFTA agreement, the government whose court system is challenged is responsible for awards by the tribunals.
‘This is the biggest threat to United States judicial independence that no one has heard of and even fewer people understand,’ said John Echeverria, a Georgetown law professor.
So how come we’re not hearing a peep from Republicans or Democrats about this?