Weekend Roundup March 3-9, 2012

Weekend Roundup March 3-9, 2012

If you have not been able to keep up with the stream of posts on Opinio Juris this week, we are pleased to offer you a weekend roundup. Three topics and a symposium fought for your attention.

First, the US Supreme Court hearings in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum continued to provide food for thought, particularly after the Court’s order on Monday to re-open the argument on the specific issue of extra-territoriality. Following up on discussions last week, Julian Ku pointed to the importance of Sosa. Ken Anderson argued that a broad application of the ATS can have perverse incentives for investment decisions by Western companies in the developing world and involves difficult trade-offs. Anthony Colangelo argued that the presumption against extraterritoriality should not apply to statutes, such as the ATS, that “implement or authorize the implementation of international law”. Donald Childress addressed a broader question and asked where human rights cases would go when the federal courts close their doors for ATS claims. He originally presented his arguments at a UC Irvine conference on international human rights in state courts and under state law, which Roger Alford discussed here.

Second, two different perspectives on the legality of pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities were discussed by Julian Ku here and Kevin Heller here. Julian pointed out how factual disagreement affects the legal argument in the Iran War Scenario, referring to statements that an attack has already occurred, whereas Kevin provided a contrasting perspective on the imminence of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Third, following the announcement that AG Holder would address national security during a speech at Northwestern Law, a few posts dealt with the US government’s position on targeted killing. Deborah Pearlstein considered the speech an anti-climax, because of the many questions it fails to answer. Julian Ku posted that the speech helps the Obama administration “with respect to both popular and elite opinion”.

In other posts, Julian Ku questioned whether China is backing off its Maximalist South China Sea claims and pointed to an article about the US’ broad cyber jurisdiction while Ken Anderson pointed out Alan Kaufman’s review essay of Stephen C. Neff’s Justice in Blue and Grey.

On Thursday and Friday, we partnered up with the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics for an online symposium on their latest issue, an overview of which can be found here. Three panels focused on the question of the recognition to be given to LGBT rights in asylum law. The first panel focused on the lead article Queer Cases Make Bad Law by James Hathaway and Jason Pobjoy, who propose an alternative theory as to how claims by sexual minorities that need to practice self-repression to avoid serious harm can and should be approached under international refugee law. David John Frank, Sarah Hinger, Victoria Neilson, Connie Oxford and Lucy Yeatman provided commentary. The second panel focused on an article by John Tobin on the use of human rights concepts in the interpretation of refugee law. This panel featured comments by Dr. Hugo Storey and Bojana Asanovic and further reflections by John Tobin. Participants in the third panel, discussing articles by Jenni Millbank and Guglielmo Verdirame, were Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Buxton, S. Chelvan, Sabine Jansen, Jenni Millbank and Thomas Spijkerboer.

Next week, we have another interesting symposium lined up. From Monday to Friday, we are hosting a discussion on Professor Tai-Heng Cheng’s book When International Law Works.

In further book news, Julian Ku’s book, co-authored with John Yoo, was published and will be discussed on Opinio Juris later this spring.

Have a nice weekend!

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Kenneth Anderson

This is a terrific new feature from OJ!  Really like it.


Congratulations on this helpful development.  Continued best wishes for the team and friends at OJ!