Kitty Felde

International law and its role at the Kagan hearing

Chuck Grassley is worried about international law creeping into Supreme Court decisions.

The Republican from Iowa asked Solicitor General Elena Kagan why students weren't required to take a constitutional law class to graduate from Harvard's law school. Kagan is the former dean of that law school. Why instead, he asked, were they required to take an international law class? Kagan said there was a long history at Harvard of studying international law and pointed out that many students use that law in their later life, in commerce and international trade.

The Iowa Senator asked what's more important, our constitution or someone elses?

Kagan said it's good for a judge to be open to good ideas wherever you can get them – whether it's in law review articles or foreign law, but she said foreign law shouldn’t have precedental weight in any but the most narrow of circumstances when making judicial decisions.

Grassley then asked which countries she would look to for good ideas.

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