A Book Discussion: International Law in The U.S. Supreme Court

by Duncan Hollis

I’m pleased to announce that Opinio Juris is hosting its latest book discussion this coming week.  We will feature International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court (CUP, 2011), which was edited by David Sloss, Mike Ramsey, and Bill Dodge.  In the interest of disclosure, I would note that two Opinio Juris regulars participated in the volume:  I authored the second chapter on how the Supreme Court dealt with treaties between 1861-1900 while Roger Alford authored the eighth chapter on international law as an interpretative tool in the Court during the 1901-1945 time frame.  Here’s a quick description of the project as a whole:
From its earliest decisions in the 1790s, the U.S. Supreme Court has used international law to help resolve major legal controversies. This book presents a comprehensive account of the Supreme Court’s use of international law from the Court’s inception to the present day. Addressing treaties, the direct application of customary international law and the use of international law as an interpretive tool, the book examines all the cases or lines of cases in which international law has played a material role, showing how the Court’s treatment of international law both changed and remained consistent over the period. Although there was substantial continuity in the Supreme Court’s international law doctrine through the end of the nineteenth century, the past century was a  time of tremendous doctrinal change. Few aspects of the Court’s international law doctrine remain the same in the twenty-first century as they were two hundred years ago.
All three editors have agreed to contribute to the book discussion, which will run from Monday, July 25 to Wednesday, July 27.  In addition, we hope to have comments on the book from a number of distinguished contributors, including our own Ken Anderson along with Harlan Cohen, Andrew KentJenny MartinezJeremy Rabkin, and Ingrid Wuerth.  Given the wide range of views and expertise represented, I trust that this will be a great discussion and I invite our readers to join in as it develops.

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