Recent Posts

Last week Harvard Law School hosted an Anglo-American Legal Exchange addressing the topic of judging. The American justices were represented by Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer and the British Law Lords were represented by Lords Rodger and Scott, and Lady Justice Arden. You can watch the video here.In terms of sheer entertainment value the Americans beat the Brits hands...

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and in anticipation of any possible catastrophic terrorist attack, there’s been a lot of talk lately about revising the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. (See here and here.) The Act (as amended) explicitly prohibits the use of the Army or Air Force for civilian law enforcement. It reads in whole:Whoever, except in...

Now that the Supreme Court in Roper and Atkins has relied on foreign and international practices to rule that capital punishment is cruel and unusual when applied to juveniles and the mentally disabled, there has been much speculation as to whether this portends the abolition of the death penalty entirely. My prediction is that the next push for comparative constitutionalism...

This weekend marked the 56th anniversary of “communist” rule in China. In a speech at Tiananmen Square Premier Wen Jiabao proclaimed that “History has eloquently proved that socialism with Chinese characteristics and the road that Chinese people have chosen are the only right way.” Which essentially means that they will follow Deng Xiaoping’s maxim to “seek truth from facts,” which...

My former colleague and friend Wadie Said has a rather different take on the recent Israeli Supreme Court decision refusing to follow the ICJ's advisory opinion on the legality of the "security fence" Israel has erected. My original post observed that the Israeli Supreme Court was quite deferential toward international law, but not the toward the ICJ's interpretation of international...

On this last day of September I would nominate Padilla v. Hanft as the most important international law case of the month. The Fourth Circuit decision, per Judge Michael Luttig (on the short list for a Supreme Court nomination), is a great example of the potential impact that international law principles may have on statutory interpretation under the so-called...

Costa Rica's government announced today that it will apply to the ICJ to resolve a decades-long dispute with Nicaragua over navigation rights on the parts of the San Juan River that run between the two countries (UPDATE: Press release announcing the case is here. It looks like the most important precedent for this case is an opinion by U.S....

I've been remiss in failing to keep up with the proceedings in Medellin v. Dretke, a case involving the enforceability of a judgment by the International Court of Justice that I blogged rather obsessively about here, here, and here. Luckily, Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSBlog is on the case here with a useful report on the latest proceedings, which have become...

I hadn't noticed until today this recent lawsuit by the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, a U.S. lumber industry lobbying group, challenging the constitutionality of one part of the North American Free Trade Agreement's Chapter 19 dispute resolution system. The complaint challenges a system of binational panels, appointed by the NAFTA secretariat and comprised of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican citizens,...

Or so says secular Neo-Marxist philosopher Jürgen Habermas. In an article by Richard Wolin in this week's issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, discussed here, Habermas had this to say about the role of religion in the development of human rights: … Habermas asserts that modern notions of equality and fairness are secular distillations of...

International lawyers have long lamented that it is nearly impossible to get courts to apply and enforce treaties, especially to assess damages against government officials. All of this is about to change. A federal appeals court has held that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) creates a private right of action. I believe this marks the first time...