Florida Journal of International Law publishes work by Israeli justice

Published: April 13th, 2009

Category: News

The Florida Journal of International Law is honored to have published a very special work by Justice Eliezer Rivlin of the Supreme Court of Israel in its most recent issue (21 Fla. J. Int’l L. 1).

Justice Rivlin was named deputy president of the court in 2006. He began his judicial career in 1976 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2000. While on the bench, Justice Rivlin has also taught law school courses in torts and constitutional law. Recently, the Journal was honored when Justice Rivlin accepted an invitation to sit on the Journal’s Advisory Board.

Justice Rivlin’s work, titled “Thoughts on Referral to Foreign Law, Global Chain-novel, and Novelty,” examines the use or lack thereof of foreign legal authorities by courts around the world. Throughout his thought-provoking piece, Justice Rivlin takes aim at such legal luminaries as Judge Richard Posner and justices of both the Canadian and Israeli Supreme Courts.

Rivlin states, “[r]eferral to foreign law does not necessarily mean the adoption of foreign choices or reliance on foreign experiences in reaching a judicial decision. It does mean a better evaluation of competing options, an available source of empirical experience and a source of novel ideas and knowledge.”

Rivlin examines the debate which often occurs when courts in the United States refer to foreign law. The controversy over reference to foreign law, writes Rivlin, often stems from disagreement over the proper approach the U.S. Supreme Court should take towards interpreting the Constitution of the United States.

Ultimately, Rivlin contends that referral to foreign law serves an important goal: overcoming domestic juristic biases. Rivlin explains that status quo biases are hurtful to the development of domestic law when they are based on irrationality or chill the evolution of modern law. The journal is proud to have this contribution from such an esteemed jurist and looks forward to future contributions by Justice Rivlin.