American Sovereignty and Its Enemies

Photo Credit: Ken FallinThe George Zimmerman saga came to an end last weekend when a jury of six Florida women found the neighborhood-watch captain not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. But even before the 15-month legal process had begun last year, the United Nations’ top human-rights official had rendered a guilty verdict—against Mr. Zimmerman and the entire U.S. judicial system.

“Justice must be done for the victim,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at an April 2012 press conference. “It’s not just this individual case. It calls into question the delivery of justice in all situations like this. . . . I will be awaiting an investigation and prosecution and trial and of course reparations for the victims concerned.”

Americans who ran across her statement may have dismissed Ms. Pillay as another U.N. busybody pestering the world’s leading democracy. But former Sen. Jon Kyl thinks there is something more pernicious at work: Such comments express the desire, and growing power, of a global progressive elite to pierce the shield of U.S. sovereignty and influence the outcomes of the country’s domestic debates.

Proponents call this movement “legal transnationalism,” and as Mr. Kyl writes in a recent Foreign Affairs magazine article (co-authored with Douglas Feith and John Fonte of the Hudson Institute), “the idea that a U.N. official can sit in judgment of the U.S.” is one of its main innovations. Transnationalists want to rewrite the laws of war, do away with the death penalty, restrict gun rights and much more—all without having to win popular majorities or heed American constitutional limits. And these advocates are making major strides under an Obama administration that is itself a hotbed of transnational legal thinking.

“Transnationalists are a group of people who are convinced they are right about important issues,” Mr. Kyl says as we sit down for a chat at the plush Washington office of the law firm Covington & Burling, where the 71-year-old Arizona Republican has served as an adviser since leaving the Senate in January. “But they are in too much of a hurry to mess with the difficulties of representative government to get their agenda adopted into law—or they know they can’t win democratically. So they look for a way around representative government.”

Read more from this story HERE.