This is a summary of “U.S. Court, a Longtime Beacon, Is Now Guiding Fewer Nations”, Adam Liptak, The New York Times, 9/18/08
The influence of the U.S. Supreme Court on other countries has decreased, based on research of The New York Times. Around the globe, the annual citation rate of Supreme Court decisions has fallen dramatically. Currently, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are cited internationally in cases about equality, liberty, and prohibitions against cruel treatment. New and sophisticated courts elsewhere are generally more liberal that the Roberts court.
Decreasing influence of American democracy is also due to the isolationist position most of the justices take. “They fail to make use of an important source of inspiration, one that enriches legal thinking, makes law more creative, and strengthens democratic ties and foundations of different legal systems”, said Aharon Barak in the Harvard Review in 2002. “America is in danger of becoming a legal backwater”, said Judge Michael Kirby of Australia.
The rightward shift of the Supreme Court may account partly for its diminished influence. In contrast, Canada is viewed as one of the most progressive courts, its judges the most judicially activist in the common-law world. The American sense of exceptionalism and initial geographic isolation from the rest of the world is seen by several scholars as the explanation to the current positions of the Court.