St. George Tucker in 1805 v. Antonin Scalia in 2005 on Reliance on Foreign Law

September 14th, 2010

St. George Tucker in his introduction to the 1805 edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries:

The Revolutionary War had “produced a corresponding revolution not only in the principles of our government, but in the laws which relate to property, and in a variety of other cases, equally contradictory to the law, and irreconcilable to the principles contained in the Commentaries.”

Justice Scalia in 2005 in Roper v. Simmons:

“Instead, the Court undertakes the majestic task of determining (and thereby prescribing) our Nation’s current standards of decency. It is beyond comprehension why we should look, for that purpose, to a country that has developed, in the centuries since the Revolutionary War—and with increasing speed since the United Kingdom’s recent submission to the jurisprudence of European courts dominated by continental jurists—a legal, political, and social culture quite different from our own.”

Americans have been hating on foreign law since the early 19th century. Though Scalia seems to like relying on Blackstone much more than Tucker did.