Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scalia Makes News by Looking to Hague Convention to Resolve Child Abduction Case

"Justice Scalia says Supreme Court should look to foreign law to resolve child custody dispute"
MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer

"Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia practically hisses when his colleagues consult foreign law to help interpret the U.S. Constitution. But on Tuesday, Scalia found himself looking approvingly to other countries in a case over an international custody dispute.

The court is taking its first look at how American authorities handle the Hague Convention on child abduction, aimed at preventing one parent from taking a child to another country without the other parent's permission.

'The purpose of a treaty is to have everybody doing the same thing,' Scalia said, 'and I think, if it's a case of some ambiguity, we should try to go along with what seems to be the consensus in other countries that are signatories to the treaty.'

That view seemed to put Scalia, who has said the same thing before, on the side of a British father who accused his estranged American wife of violating Chilean law and a court order in Chile by taking their son to Texas without his consent. The child, born in Hawaii and now 14, is a U.S. citizen.

Timothy Abbott asked an American court to order the child returned to Chile, based on the treaty. The mother argued that she has exclusive custody of the boy and that U.S. courts are powerless under the treaty to order his return. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the mother, Jacquelyn Abbott.

The high court appeared inclined to side with Timothy Abbott, although some justices raised concerns that a decision in his favor in this case could lead to undesirable results in others."

Read the complete article: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/wire/sns-ap-us-supreme-court-scalia,0,5574434.story

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