For US citizens: International law vs. Constitution.

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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This applies to US citizens in the US.
Supposing some foreign government or multinational power decides a citizen has violated an international law. They wish to apply it although it would directly violate the US Constitution.

1) Do you believe that international law is superior to your rights under the Constitution?

2) Do you believe the US government which is bound by the Constitution as it's ultimate guiding document should surrender citizens if the law conflicts with Constitutional protections?

3) If you believe international law trumps Constitutional, would you be willing to give those rights up if it was you or your family?
 

keird

Diamond Member
Jan 18, 2002
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In practice, only certain countries will comply with international law, though.

Edit: What are the practical constraints of this International body's ability to enforce those laws?
 
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JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
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In practice, only certain countries will comply with international law, though.

Edit: What are the practical constraints of this International body's ability to enforce those laws?

not your thread you don`t ask the questions........plusm your question has nothing to do with the OP`s questions. All your doing is derailing this thread.

:)
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
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International law, when agreed to by the US via a ratified treaty, has the standing of federal law within the US. The US is bound, under the Constitution, to honor such laws. Persons have the right to challenge the constitutionality of all laws in the courts. If a treaty is found to be unconstitutional then it is invalid and the US can not enforce it. If it is valid then the US has an obligation to honor the treaty it has made.

If an "international law" has not been signed and ratified by the US then it don't mean a thing legally in the US.
 

Nemesis 1

Lifer
Dec 30, 2006
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NO NO NO to all three. If thats the case I am in trouble as I have broken many international Laws as has many forum members. Freedom of speech isn't an international law that I am aware of.
 
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palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
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This applies to US citizens in the US.
Supposing some foreign government or multinational power decides a citizen has violated an international law. They wish to apply it although it would directly violate the US Constitution.

1) Do you believe that international law is superior to your rights under the Constitution?

2) Do you believe the US government which is bound by the Constitution as it's ultimate guiding document should surrender citizens if the law conflicts with Constitutional protections?

3) If you believe international law trumps Constitutional, would you be willing to give those rights up if it was you or your family?
1. Fuck no.
2. Fuck no.
3. N/A

Pray that our courts never allow for this to happen. If/when they do, I will participate in the armed revolution. As Ironwing explained above, we have the mechanisms in place to prevent this from happening; but, you never know what our politicians will try and do.

Every American citizen is obligated to remain ever vigilant and prepared to overthrow our Government if/when they usurp the Constitution in favor of a foreign power.
 
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fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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1. Fuck no.
2. Fuck no.
3. N/A

Pray that our courts never allow for this to happen. If/when they do, I will participate in the armed revolution. As Ironwing explained above, we have the mechanisms in place to prevent this from happening; but, you never know what our politicians will try and do.

Every American citizen is obligated to remain ever vigilant and prepared to overthrow our Government if/when they usurp the Constitution in favor of a foreign power.

I'm trying to figure out if there is some larger point to this thread. Does anyone really think such a thing would ever happen in any of our lifetimes? I can't think of a single scenario outside of an alien invasion.
 

XZeroII

Lifer
Jun 30, 2001
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No. The constitution is above the government. It would be like you trying to fire your boss. You don't have the authority to do it just like how the gov't doesn't have the authority to violate the terms of the constitution.
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
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Look at all the people who said "no" but support going to war over UN resolutions.
 

Hayabusa Rider

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I'm trying to figure out if there is some larger point to this thread. Does anyone really think such a thing would ever happen in any of our lifetimes? I can't think of a single scenario outside of an alien invasion.

I'm not asking what you think is likely. This isn't a gotcha but you are correct that there is a reason for my asking. The problem with revealing too much too soon is that people will naturally alter how they answer the questions as asked. I'll make another post to clarify things. I'm not looking to hang you or anyone else unless they get termanally stupid, but that can happen in any thread.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
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For US citizens on foreign soil I think you should be held accountable for the rules of that country if you had a choice in going there. If you are planning to go to France for vacation then you should know the rules before going, don't complain using it isn't that way in the USA as an excuse. Now if it is like the people North Korea took claiming they were spies that is where the USA should get involved.

Things like the recent child custody case I think the USA has no place getting involved. Or if you are imprisoned for drugs in another country and it is a legitimate charge, then no the USA should stay out of it.

Someone on US soil should be immune from international laws.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
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Look at all the people who said "no" but support going to war over UN resolutions.

I sincerely doubt any of those people would argue that we are REQUIRED to go to war however, so the comparison doesn't really hold.
 

Hayabusa Rider

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I sincerely doubt any of those people would argue that we are REQUIRED to go to war however, so the comparison doesn't really hold.

So yea or nay to the questions? You aren't compelled to answer them of course but you have opinions on the opinions of others so you probably have one on this hypothetical.
 

Hayabusa Rider

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I would like to know more about this mysterious "international law" you speak of.


The concept isn't difficult. Note that someone had mentioned that we can sign treaties, and that they have the weight of Federal law. It still wouldn't override a US citizens Constitutional rights in the US.

I've seen opinions elsewhere that the US is obliged to obey the will of the international community, and that international law (and the SCOTUS has referred to it in past rulings) supersedes the Constitution, and that if given a choice between one or the other, the Constitution is secondary. I disagree that this concept of "internationalism" as it's been worded trumps due process for example.

Since others have voiced that opinion, I wondered what people on this forum thought. I didn't want to go into hypothetical examples simply because the thread would become about some agency or agenda. I was looking for philosophical/legal opinions.

Admiral Ackbar can relax.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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So yea or nay to the questions? You aren't compelled to answer them of course but you have opinions on the opinions of others so you probably have one on this hypothetical.

The Constitution trumps all international law and US statutes in all cases. Of course the interpretation of the Constitution leaves a lot of grey areas.
 

whylaff

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Oct 31, 2007
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I must say, I love the way your questions are worded. It’s obvious you wrote them operating under the premise that “international law = bad” and then present them in this guise of opinion gathering on a hypothetical situation. It reminds me of that often used lawyer question example, “Sir, when did you stop beating your wife?”
 

Hayabusa Rider

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I must say, I love the way your questions are worded. It’s obvious you wrote them operating under the premise that “international law = bad” and then present them in this guise of opinion gathering on a hypothetical situation. It reminds me of that often used lawyer question example, “Sir, when did you stop beating your wife?”

I've stated that I consider it wrong if someone tries to apply it to a US citizen in the US where it conflicts with the Constitution.

We have treaties and agreements with other nations and all governments have done so since they first came into being. Some are good and some are not, like any other law.

That plain enough?
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
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We have alienated the international community far too long. We must forsake our isolationist ways if we ever want world peace and people to stop hating us. Embracing international law is one of many ways of realizing the goal of an integrated world economy and political system. Not only can international entities export our enlightened, progressive values to the likes of Iran and North Korea through sanctions and talks, but we also can prevent wars by eliminating nationalism as we forsake the imaginary lines that we draw for ourselves on the map.




Just kidding*, I say HELL NO to the first two items and the final is not applicable. Hopefully, any politician that attempts to ratify a foreign law that conflicts with the constitution will be quickly stopped by other lawmakers or the courts and lose his reelection.

* NOTE: The above statement should not be considered an avocation of total isolationism as international treaties can and do make sense and are necessary in many situations.