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That essentially was the question the Ninth Circuit had to address in the recent case of United States v. Liu. The question arose out of a criminal prosecution by the United States against defendant for running a brothel in Saipan. Defendant argued that the United States had no authority to prosecute her under the commerce clause or the...

Some hard-working soul on the Democratic vice presidential vetting team had to make her way through a law review article Joe Biden co-authored in the late 1980's on constitutional war powers. The piece is pretty safe stuff, advocating a "joint decision model" for use-of-force decisionmaking. In the course of proposing some tinkering with the War Powers Resolution, there is this...

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my experiences in Georgia in the early 1990s, monitoring the various conflicts - Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and the then-Georgian civil war in Tbilisi.  I noted that those secessionist conflicts were marked on each side by ethnic cleansing as extreme as anything I saw in the Yugloslav wars (a country which I also...

This year, I am watching the Olympic Games on television in the United States for the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. It has been my singular honor to have been selected to be an arbitrator on the ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the last four Olympic Games. Serving on...

     Franck Fife/AFP via MSNBC    As we've learned from our expert guest-bloggers, there are disputes arising out of the Olympics, and then there are DISPUTES.   The reported International Olympic Committee investigation into the age of Chinese gymnast and gold medalist He Kexin (何可欣) qualifies as the type of DISPUTE that could really get ugly. Why? Because a big part of the investigation...

The Olympics have been amazing. Great athletes, amazing venues, wonderful organization. The Chinese have much to be proud of. But whatever goodwill that the Olympics have engendered in me is quickly being lost based on their treatment of dissent. The Chinese are being utterly hypocritical in promising to afford opportunities for dissent but not making good...

The most famous quote from the founder of the modern Olympic Games is: “The important thing is not to win, but to take part” (L'important n'est pas de gagner, mais de participer). So far, the Beijing experience of the CAS Ad Hoc Division seems to give a new relevance to this Olympic slogan. Indeed, after the first week of competition, the...

The New York Times has posted online the (possibly fraying) cease-fire agreement concerning the conflict in Georgia. At the time of its signing, President Sarkozy had said something to the effect that this is not a document for a lasting peace, but rather just to stop the shooting.  Looking at the text, I can see why he wanted to make that clear. ...

Although the Modern Olympic Games have been held since 1896, it was only recently that professional athletes were permitted to participate in the Olympics. Until the late 1980s, in a futile effort to prevent professionalization of the Olympics, only “amateur” athletes were deemed eligible by the International Olympic Committee to compete in the Olympic Games. Since then, the international federation...

We don’t insist that our major-league ball players come from the cities that they play for. Why should we demand any more from Olympic athletes? The Beijing Games includes more athletes with tenuous ties to the country whose flag they followed into Friday’s opening ceremonies. There are some who have jumped states in search of better-funded Olympic programs. Others couldn't...

Russia's intervention in Georgia is the latest, and most obvious, example of the peculiar role that Russia plays in the various so-called frozen conflicts in former republics of the USSR.  As international security expert Dov Lynch has put it, Russia can be thought of as a “mediator-cum-supporter-cum-combatant.”  Why has Russia undertaken such a foreign policy in Georgia and what, if anything,...

The Olympic Games are an intense environment for disputes. They draw unbelievable scrutiny and international attention, with the media on site dedicated to report even the hint of a controversy. The athletes at their center are competing in the most important event of their sporting careers, with the highest possible stakes. In this charged atmosphere, the Court...