Justice Ginsburg Tells Egyptians: Don’t Model Government on U.S. Constitution
During a recent trip to Egypt, U.S Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (left) had some key advice for the leaders of this Middle Eastern country as it supposedly moves past a long era of oppression and dictatorship into freedom for its people: Don’t use the U.S. Constitution as a model in penning your own governing document.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, Ginsburg traveled to Egypt in late January to meet with that country’s judges, legal experts, law professors, and others in Cairo and Alexandria, answering questions about the U.S. legal system and Constitution.
During one of her final events in the nation, at Cairo University, she told the faculty and students of the university’s law school: “This is the most wonderful time in which to live and be among the young people who are helping your country and bringing about change during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state. Think of the people who lived before you and did not have this opportunity because they lived under a dictatorial regime. And they did not have the opportunity that you have had to be part of this social transformation.”
Alluding to the Constitution of her own nation, Ginsburg counseled her audience to do their best “to achieve the goals of this revolution and to continue to strive to create a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Nonetheless, when asked later about the process of drafting a new constitution that would assist the country in guaranteeing the liberty for which its people long, Ginsburg dismissed history’s premier model. “Let me say first, that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom,” Ginsburg rightly pointed out during a nearly 20-minute interview on Egypt’s Al Hayat TV. “If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference.”
Like a true advocate for personal freedom, she pointed out that “the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution … should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.”
But then, shockingly, America’s judicial representative counseled the Egyptian people that “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.” Dismissing the document that has ensured the God-given “blessings of liberty” of the American people for over 200 years, Ginsburg instead pointed to countries whose people look to government — rather than the Almighty — as the creator of their rights.
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