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FP: The List: How Sotomayor Sees the World

Author: Joshua Keating
May 2009

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Five ways Obama's Supreme Court nominee could change U.S. foreign policy.

The issue: One of the fiercest debates among legal scholars today is the degree to which it is proper for U.S. judges to cite foreign case law in making decisions. Conservatives, notably Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, tend to take the view that international agreements and laws should not apply, as they derive from different constitutional systems, while liberals, notably Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tend to argue that a more "internationalist" legal philosophy is needed.

Sotomayor's record: The 2000 case Croll v. Croll involved the application of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Mrs. Croll had removed her child from Hong Kong to the United States in violation of a Hong Kong court's joint custody order and Mr. Croll filed a petition under the Hague Convention seeking the child's return. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where Sotomayor currently sits, sided with the mother, ruling that the convention did not give Mr. Croll the right to determine the child's place of residence.

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