Mr. Speaker, ``I solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of which I am about to enter, so help me God.''

Mr. Speaker, this is the judicial oath that justices of the United States Supreme Court take to uphold America's Constitution, the sacred manuscript our Nation was established upon, the foundation of who we are.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, some of the same justices who preside over the highest court in our land are systematically unraveling the threads of the very Constitution they vowed to protect. In what amounts to a most disturbing development, the United States Supreme Court continues to flirt with the temptations of foreign court decisions and the lure of opinions of international organizations. They do this in the interpretation of our American Constitution.

Mr. Speaker, this trend is terribly troubling. Has the Supreme Court lost its way?

As a former Texas judge for over 22 years, having heard 25,000 criminal cases, I took the same oath as our Supreme Court justices, to uphold the United States Constitution. Never once did I make a decision based upon the way they do things in other countries. My oath was to our Constitution, not to the Constitution of the member countries of the European Union, such as France. America should not confer with the decisions of any of the hundreds of foreign powers on our planet. As Anthony Scalia, our justice on the Supreme Court has said, ``those decisions are irrelevant in the United States.''

In 1776, amidst a revolution, our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence which stated brazenly and boldly the 13 colonies desire to dissolve political bonds with England. In this document, Mr. Speaker, Thomas Jefferson penned among the list of grievances against King George the following statement: He said of King George, ``He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws.''

Mr. Speaker, 10,000 to 14,000 patriots over the course of 8 years in the American War of Independence spilled their blood or died to secure liberty for us and safeguard our constitutional rights.

The purpose was to sever ties with England forever. Then, in 1812, the British invaded the United States again. The British still wanted America to be subject to the King and their ways. They burned this very city, including our Capitol. President Madison and his wife, Dolly, fled Washington, D.C. in the damp darkness of the dreadful night to escape the invaders. The British were determined to retake this free Nation of America and this very soil on which I stand today. Americans defeated the British a second time to make them understand that we will not do things the English way.

Now, justices in this land of America, across the street from this very Capitol, use British court decisions and European thought in interpreting our Constitution. What the British could not accomplish by force, our Supreme Court has surrendered to them voluntarily. Has the Supreme Court handed over our sovereign Constitution to other nations? Mr. Speaker, has the Supreme Court lost its way?

The Constitution is the basis for who we are, what we believe, and what our values are. My colleagues will notice, Mr. Speaker, the oath our judges take is to the Constitution; not to the government, not to the President. It is to the Constitution. That is because the Constitution is the supreme authority of the land. It is our identity. It is our path to justice for all Americans.

The Framers of the Constitution made clear their vision for the Federal judiciary. Named in Article III behind both of the other branches of government, the Founders intended a court system with a narrow scope and restricted authority. As Alexander Hamilton explained in one of the Federalist Papers, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution, because it will be the least in its capacity to annoy or injure them. He states that the judicial branch is, beyond comparison, the weakest of the three departments of power.

Mr. Hamilton continued in his Federalist Papers, the executive dispenses the honors, holds the sword of the community. The legislature commands the purchases, prescribes the rules by which the duties and the rights of every citizen are regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purchases, no discretion, either of the strength or the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatsoever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but just judgment.

Mr. Hamilton was wrong. History now reveals that the Supreme Court has become the most powerful of all the branches of government, although it was intended to be the weakest. And the people of this country cannot hold them accountable for their actions. Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, an alarming number of judges deem the Constitution a bendable document, more like a catalog of suggestions rather than the rule of law; a set of elastic principles which, at the end of the day, can be easily interchanged with the judge's own personal policy and emotional agenda. As one author on the topic of our judges has put it, they see their role limited only by the boundaries of their imaginations.

And in the case of consulting foreign statutes to determine rulings here in the United States, a majority of our nine Supreme Court Justices even encourage it. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, for example, has said that although international law and the law of other nations are rarely binding on decisions in the United States and its courts, conclusions reached by other countries and by the international community should, at times, constitute persuasive authority in American courts.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if they are rarely binding, who decides when they are binding? Is this arbitrary justice? My question is, when do foreign court decisions matter, and when do they not matter? Do our judges pick and choose foreign decisions that they like and ignore those they personally do not like? Do they pick and choose to get a desired result?

Mr. Speaker, this is constitutional chaos. In one of her books where she shares her reflections on being a Supreme Court Justice, she goes on to say that she believes American judges and lawyers can benefit from broadening their horizons. I know from my experience, she says, at the Supreme Court that we often have much to learn from other jurisdictions. We Supreme Court Justices will find ourselves looking more frequently to decisions of constitutional courts, especially common law courts that have struggled with the same constitutional questions that we have. International law is no longer a specialty; it is vital if judges are to faithfully discharge their duties.

Mr. Speaker, all judges, all lawyers in the United States take oaths to faithfully discharge their duties to the United States Constitution. None of us took an oath to faithfully discharge international law and the duty to international law. Has the Supreme Court, Mr. Speaker, lost its way?

Another judge on our Supreme Court, Justice Ginsberg, also subscribes to the importance of international jurisprudence on the Court. She thinks the premise is wrong that you only look to your friends. She has asked why, if judges are free to consult commentary, restatements, treaties, writings of law professors, law students and law reviews, they should not analyze an opinion from, get this, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the German Constitutional Court, or the European Court of Human Rights. In her view, the United States judiciary will be poor if we do not both share our experience with and learn from legal systems with values and a commitment to democracy similar to our own.

On a C-SPAN broadcast last month, another Justice, sympathetic to the use of international law and foreign court decisions, indicated that the Supreme Court is faced with more and more cases in which the laws of other countries apply. Where there is disagreement is how to use the law of other nations where we have some of those very open-ended interpretations of the word ``liberty,'' and interpretations of the phrase ``cruel and unusual punishment.'' This Justice believes it is appropriate in some instances to look to how other foreign courts may have decided similar issues. I ask, Mr. Speaker, what difference does it make how they do things in lands far, far away?

In 2002, Justice Paul Stevens in Thompson v. Oklahoma raised global norms regarding a particular type of punishment in his opinions. He states the conclusion that it would offend civilized standards of decency to execute a person who was less than 16 years of age at the time of his or her offense is consistent with the views that have been expressed by respected professional organizations, by other nations that share Anglo-American heritage, by leading members of the Western European Community, the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute, who have all formally expressed opposition to the death penalty for juveniles.

Although the death penalty has not been entirely abolished, he says, in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, in neither of these countries may a juvenile be executed. The death penalty has been abolished in West Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, and all Scandinavian countries, and is available only for exceptional crimes such as treason in Canada, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.

He concludes by saying, juvenile executions are also prohibited in the Soviet Union.

Mr. Speaker, regardless of how we feel about the execution of juveniles, the question, Mr. Speaker, is not what they do in the Soviet Union, but what does the United States Constitution say about this issue. Has the Supreme Court, once again, lost its way?

The same year, in Atkins v. Virginia, the Court once again looked to foreign courts; and while only 13 years earlier our Supreme Court decided that decisions of foreign courts were not to enter into the determination of sentencing in the United States, the Supreme Court did the judicial flip-flop. Justice Stevens concluded in this case that there is a national consensus in reaching his opinion. Does this mean the end justifies the means?

In the footnotes explaining his decision, the Justices indicated they looked to briefs filed by religious groups, psychologists, polling data, and a brief offered by the European Union, a brief that was used eventually as blanket consensus, the voice of the global community at large. Well, what about the Constitution? Why not use the Constitution as our guide and only guide in making decisions by the Supreme Court?

But, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the most egregious perpetrator of citing foreign court opinions is Justice Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy continues to write decisions hardly based on the Constitution, but on international law. Which law is he beholden to? Is the Constitution not sufficient for him? In 2003, in a high-profile case involving my home State of Texas, the case of Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Kennedy referred to international standards in the Court's consideration of Texas laws. Revealing the Court's reliance on the views of a wider civilization, the majority opinion was inspired by previous rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Well, who put the European Court of Human Rights in charge of us?

This year, in March, Roper v. Simmons, writing for a 5-4 majority, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy wrote, we have established the propriety and affirmed the necessity of referring to the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society to determine what punishments are so disproportionate as to be cruel and unusual. In making this decision, the majority judges looked to foreign lands to interpret what cruel and unusual means in our Constitution. In dissenting, Justice Scalia, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justice Thomas, on the other hand, said they do not believe that approval of other nations and people should buttress our commitment to American principles any more than disapproval by other nations and people should weaken that commitment.

Mr. Speaker, I realize the Constitution is an old document, well over 200 years; but this idea of ``evolving standards of decency'' is simply ridiculous. Values are timeless. American values are timeless. American standards are timeless, and they are in the Constitution.

The list of decisions against our Constitution, Mr. Speaker, is a deep cavern of vile destruction. Other verdicts handed down by the Supreme Court include citations of legal opinions from foreign courts in Jamaica, India, and the ultimate beacon of justice, Zimbabwe. Mr. Speaker, has the Supreme Court lost its way?

Let me give my colleagues an analogy. If, as a judge, I had a thief, a shoplifter appear before me who had stolen many times before and I ordered that his hand be chopped off in the public square, I suspect his attorney would object, saying, this violates the constitutional provision of cruel and unusual punishment in the eighth amendment. While the attorney would be correct based upon our Constitution, my response could well be, well, Mr. Lawyer, they chop hands off in other countries for this type of crime, so since other countries do it and they find it logical, I will accept these foreign courts in making my decisions.

Mr. Speaker, in Texas, I would have been removed from the bench for such nonsense. So why do we tolerate our Supreme Court using this same rationale going to foreign courts in their decisionmaking?

Mr. Speaker, these controversial decisions that have emerged from our Supreme Court have prompted a growing contingent of former judges in this body to join me in signing a letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. I, along with my fellow gentlemen from Texas, (Mr. Carter) (Mr. Hall) (Mr. Gohmert), as well as the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan) and the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Aderholt), all former judges in their respective States, have urged our Senate colleagues to consider a nominee's allegiance to the United States Constitution and the sovereignty of the United States when imparting their advice and consent role in the Presidential appointment process in our Senate.

When any court in the United States, Mr. Speaker, begins to permit foreign sentiments to ooze into its rulings and opinions, it dangerously weakens our sovereignty. These irresponsible allowances erode our unique political identity and the sound traditions upon which American law is established. From the mere founding of our country, our laws and courts have respected and honored the sovereignty of the United States and the supremacy of our Constitution.

My colleagues will notice, Mr. Speaker, I am not discussing or criticizing the results of the Supreme Court decisions and their holdings. I have been careful not to comment on the results of these numerous cases where the Supreme Court reaches out to foreign courts to make their decision. While somewhat relevant, since these decisions are the law of the land, the complaint is the process and method by which the Supreme Court makes decisions. The use of foreign courts, emotions, personal opinions, result-oriented decisions, personal agendas, feelings and the opinions of focus groups is, as Justice Scalia says, totally irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the Constitution.

Unfortunately, we now seem to have some jurists in our Supreme Court who have lost their way, their balance. They have forsaken the process founded by our forefathers. They are disregarding boundaries etched into the foundation of our Constitution.

Justice Scalia may be one of the last strongholds we have against judicial tyranny in today's Supreme Court. He understands the importance in honoring the original meaning of the constitution, that it is the supreme law of the land. He rightly maintains that foreign pronouncements are totally irrelevant when it comes to our courts and our Supreme Court in making their decisions.

Mr. Speaker, this is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of who will stand with the Constitution and who will stand with foreign courts.

I urge my colleagues in both chambers to support measures that aim to curb the way our Supreme Court makes its decisions, that they should be responsible to the Constitution of the United States.

As Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, warned in an August 18, 1821, letter to a friend, Charles Hammond, a lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court, he says, that is Mr. Jefferson: The germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the Federal judiciary, working like gravity by night and day, gaining a little today, a little tomorrow, advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction until all shall be usurped.

Mr. Jefferson was a prophet of what has become judicial anarchy. Some northeastern legal scholars, intellectual elites that sit in cigar-filled rooms agree with the ultimate decisions of the Supreme Court justices, justices that use these foreign laws, because they like the results.

But I warn these folks, the Supreme Court may not always make decisions you agree with, and they may betray you by ignoring the Constitution and citing foreign laws that create a different result than you wish. Then you will cry: Return to the Constitution; return to our sacred scripture. When your cries are made to our courts, you may too find no one is listening.

As guardians of the Constitution, Mr. Speaker, as champions of the separation of power, as accountants of the system of checks and balances, as the stewards of this legislative branch, we must implore our judiciary, our Supreme Court justices to reject the seduction of comparable side glances as they interpret the laws of this land.

I ask the Supreme Court to come back home, home to the Constitution and reject the lustful temptation of foreign countries and their laws.

I yield to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) such time as he must desire to speak on this very issue.

*Mr. King's Remarks*

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) for his dedication to the Constitution, to making sure that the Members of this body are committed to that and reminding the Supreme Court that they have an obligation to that Constitution.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert), a former judge, a former appellate judge from east Texas. The east Texas folks kind of think maybe a little differently than the Supreme Court does on using foreign law to make decisions that are binding on the rest of us. I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert).

*Mr. Gohmert's Remarks*

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert) for his kind words and for his insight into this important issue.

Mr. Speaker, as most Americans go about being concerned about jobs, Social Security, the environment, health care, crime, outsourcing, all of those things are important. Many of those issues will eventually end up in our courts. Some of those cases will find their way to the Supreme Court, and while this issue is somewhat complex, it is not that difficult to understand.

The Constitution is the Bible for our democracy. Words mean something, Mr. Speaker, and the words of the Constitution are words that we must live by, that we must stand by and that we must defend.

I hope that most Americans, regardless of who they are, what their political beliefs are, understand that our Constitution came about because of sacrifices of Americans, many of whom we will never know the names of, that fought first in the War of Independence and numerous wars after that, because we are a unique land, Mr. Speaker. We are a unique people, Mr. Speaker, and the pinnacle of our uniqueness is the Constitution of the United States.

Every public official in this country, school board members, police officers, city councilmen, firefighters, members of the State legislatures, judges throughout our entire Nation and Members of this body took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is who our oath and our allegiance is made to, and all we are asking, Mr. Speaker, is that the Supreme Court come back home, follow their oath, be beholden to the United States Constitution and not to foreign countries.