Stuart Taylor has a very good article this week about the Obama administration, international law, and free speech. This excerpt begins with a quote from Harold Koh, Obama’s top lawyer at the State Department:
“Our exceptional free‐speech tradition can cause problems abroad, as, for example, may occur when hate speech is disseminated over the Internet.” The Supreme Court, suggested Koh — then a professor at Yale Law School — “can moderate these conflicts by applying more consistently the transnationalist approach to judicial interpretation” that he espouses.
Translation: Transnational law may sometimes trump the established interpretation of the First Amendment. This is the clear meaning of Koh’s writings, although he implied otherwise during his Senate confirmation hearing.
In my view, Obama should not take even a small step down the road toward bartering away our free‐speech rights for the sake of international consensus. “Criticism of religion is the very measure of the guarantee of free speech,” as Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, wrote in an October 19 USA Today op‐ed.
Even European nations with much weaker free‐speech traditions than ours were reportedly dismayed by the American cave‐in to Islamic nations on “racial and religious stereotyping” and the rest.
Read the whole thing.