WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr., citing the future need for legal rules for life in space, on Thursday endorsed what he called a first draft of the "first principles for the governance of space societies."
"The hope is that, if a final statement can be agreed upon, an effort to obtain United Nations approval and assistance then should be initiated and pressed in the hope (of) universal acceptance," Brennan said.
His remarks were made in a speech to the American Law Institute, an organization of lawyers and judges.
Brennan, who has participated in a project sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and Boston University's Center for Democracy, said the space law principles were developed in anticipation of "enormous new responsibilities" for lawyers when space settlements are established.
The first of 11 principles states that the United States has an obligation "to ensure that the fundamental needs for life, individual freedom, liberty, justice, dignity and the responsibilities inherent in self-determination are integral parts of humanity's exploration and settlement of space."
Other principles call for due process of law, voting rights, freedom of speech, property rights, environmental protection and adherence to international law.