As Egyptian officials prepare to prosecute 19 American democracy and rights workers, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, visited Cairo University. During an interview on Al- Hayat television, she suggested Egyptian revolutionaries not use the U.S. Constitution as a model as they arrange to write a new Constitution.
“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.”
“I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”
She encouraged them to enjoy the opportunity to participate in the “exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state.”
She then pointed not only to South Africa’s Constitution, but to Canada’s 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the European Convention on Human Rights. “Why not take advantage of what is else there in the world? I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others,” Ginsburg added.
Justice Ginsburg’s comments are not foreign to her overall philosophy. She has previously stated that she weighs foreign law as well as U.S. law when forming a legal opinion.