Courting Decline

Perusing the Times today, I came across this sad little headline: “Supreme Court’s Global Influence Is Waning.”

Yeah. Not only is our executive branch wallowing in lame duck-hood and our legislative branch often stalled in partisan gridlock—now, it seems, we’ve gone and made our declining influence into a hat trick. The judicial branch? Lame.

In other countries’ eyes, anyway.

“Judges around the world have long looked to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court for guidance, citing and often following them in hundreds of their own rulings since the Second World War,” Adam Liptak writes.

But now American legal influence is waning. Even as a debate continues in the court over whether its decisions should ever cite foreign law, a diminishing number of foreign courts seem to pay attention to the writings of American justices.

Great. Just great. Someone should probably call Gore Vidal.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.