Asked to explain judicial receptivity to international law, Judge Guy Canivet (pictured, middle) of the Conseil constitutionnel spoke of values; that is, the role of the judge as the "bearer of the value of justice," of the "value of the democratic quality of the state." That's the difference between U.S. and French judges, interjected U.S. Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer (2d from left): the French "start with principles," while the Americans "start with concrete problems." "Yes, I worry about those things too," Breyer continued. "When? When I have a case that calls for it." So began this week's conversation between 2 countries' high court judges at Cardozo Law School in New York. Discussion touched on topics as varied as executive detention and the legal status of embryos, as AIDS and universal jurisdiction. Posing questions were Cardozo's Michel Rosenfeld (far right) and Mireille Delmas-Marty (far left), Professor of Comparative Legal Studies & the Internationalization of Law at Collège de France.
The public session capped a 2-day private roundtable meeting of Delmas-Marty's brainchild -- Réseau ID, the Franco-American Network on the Internationalization of Law, which 1st met in Paris last year. Participants included a French ambassador and other French judges (from not only the Conseil constitutionnel but also the Conseil d'État); U.S. Court of Appeals Judge William A. Fletcher; former Solicitor General Charles Fried; Emmanuelle Jouannet, Vivian Grosswald Curran, George Bermann, Harold Hongju Koh, and Jonathan Wiener; IntLawGrrls Diane Marie Amann (aka Grace O'Malley), Hélène Ruiz Fabri (aka Olympe de Gouges), Naomi Norberg (aka Anna Koransky, 2d from right as translator extraordinaire for the public event).
A 2008 meeting of the Réseau, in Paris, is contemplated. We'll always have New York.