Articles

[Harold Hongju Koh is Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. This post is a response to the recent Trump Administration and International Law Symposium hosted on Opinio Juris.] Can international law save itself from Donald Trump? Since Election Night 2016, that question has haunted me across many issue areas. Professor Craig Martin and the Washburn Law Journal editors generously invited me...

[Kevin Jon Heller is a Professor of Law at the University of Amsterdam. This is the second part of a two-part post. The first part can be found here.] Humanitarian Intervention The first part of this post outlined my retrospective problem with Harold’s article. My prospective problem concerns his passionate call for the legal recognition of unilateral humanitarian intervention (UHI) – intervention...

[Kevin Jon Heller is a Professor of Law at the University of Amsterdam. This is the first part of a two-part post. The second part is found here.] Introduction It is an honour to be invited to respond to the article version of Harold Koh’s recent Foulston Siefkin Lecture at Washburn Law School, “The Trump Administration and International Law.” I am a...

[Laura Dickinson is the Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School.] In International Law in the Trump Administration, Harold Hongju Koh has articulated a bold vision of the role that international law can play (and to some extent is playing) during the current administration. Unlike some critics, he does not argue that the administration is...

[Frédéric G. Sourgens is a Professor of Law at Washburn University School of Law.] The key virtue of transnational legal process is what Dean Harold Koh calls its “stickiness.” (pp. 416, 437) Transnational legal process is rooted in the deep authority structures underpinning world community: we, as members in world society, have internalized global norm commitments as our own and reflexively order...

[William S. Dodge is Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at the UC Davis School of Law. From 2011 to 2012, he served as Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State.] Among Harold Koh’s many academic achievements, perhaps his most influential has been to articulate a theory of transnational legal process that explains...

[Craig Martin is a Professor of Law at Washburn University School of Law, and is the Co-Director of the International and Comparative Law Center of Washburn Law.] Over the next few days Opinio Juris will be conducting a virtual symposium to discuss Professor Harold Hongju Koh’s article The Trump Administration and International Law. The article was published in a special Symposium...

Over the next several days we will have an online discussion on a recent article by Harold Koh on The Trump Administration and International Law, 56 Washburn L. J. 413 (2017). The article is based on a lecture Professor Koh gave at Washburn University School of Law last year, and is published in a special issue of the Journal that includes...

The forthcoming issue of the European Journal of International Law will feature an article by Professor Simon Chesterman, the Dean of the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law, entitled Asia’s Ambivalence About International Law and Institutions: Past, Present and Futures. This week, Opinio Juris and EJILTalk will hold a joint symposium on the two blogs on Professor Chesterman’s article. The...

[Harlan Cohen is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law] What is the study of “International Law as Behavior”?  At the workshop in November, Elena Baylis, Tomer Broude, Galit Sarfaty, Jean Galbraith, and Tim Meyer (whose chapters/presentations were described earlier) were joined by Kathryn Sikkink, who presented on the role of agency in constructivism, Ron Levi and Sungjoon Cho, who drew upon sociology to study the “fields” of international criminal law and international human rights practice and the social structure of the WTO, respectively, Adam Chilton, who presented on the potential of experimental methods for studying human rights, and Anne van Aaken, who explored behavioral law and economics’ implications for international legal theory.  What, if anything, binds these ten projects together?  Are there lessons to be learned about how these projects and methods can fit together into some greater whole?  These will be topics discussed in the book arising out of this project, but for now, a few thoughts on ways forward. It can be tempting to see these projects as puzzle pieces, which when assembled in the correct order, reveal a larger picture of the international order. Each brings its own insights: Rational choice sets up testable, generalizable hypotheses about how states might interact given express assumptions about state behavior. Sociology, anthropology, and behavioral law and economics can test those hypotheses against real world scenarios, explaining why specific situations diverge from those expectations, whether as a result of social structures, culture, or human psychology. Experimental methods can help identify the actual preferences of international actors. Constructivist accounts can build upon sociology, anthropology, and psychology to explain where state preferences come from and how they change. Focused primarily on different, overlapping units of analysis—individual actors, the communities in which they practice, the culture in which their embedded, the states on behalf of whom they act, and the larger structures in which those states are embedded, these approaches might seem like natural complements—snapshots taken from one angle, which when spliced together might provide a panoramic view of the international system. Together, these accounts might provide a more complex account of the different processes, preferences, beliefs, and incentives that might drive the vast array of actors who operate in international law, whether grass-root activists, transnational norm advocates, technocratic experts, politicians, bureaucratic careerists, or diplomats. Where these levers converge or diverge may help explain both the emergence of consensus over rules and continued contestation. Successful strategies for achieving particular international goals will flip all the right switches. But imagining all of these accounts as different harmonies converging in one glorious tune is too simplistic and overly optimistic;

[Tomer Broude is Vice-Dean and Sylvan M. Cohen Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law and Department of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.] How do negotiators of international treaty regimes engage with the ‘choice architecture’ inherent in the treaties they design? Are they aware of their own susceptibility to cognitive biases and do they take into account the behavioral weaknesses of their counterparts and constituencies? Jean Galbraith’s excellent study on human rights treaty flexibility cast light on this question, very neatly demonstrating on the basis of quantitative research that opt-in/opt-out provisions in treaties have significantly differential effects on subsequent choices. In a paper I am writing with Dr. Shai Moses (a former negotiator and affiliated with the Université de Genève) for a forthcoming handbook on trade in services (edited by Martin Roy and Pierre Sauvé), we explore the behavioral dynamics of negotiated choice architecture in the context of international services trade liberalization, and in particular in the ongoing negotiations towards a plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Here are some of our initial observations on what seems to be going on in Geneva, from a behavioral perspective.

Negative/Positive Listing in Services Liberalization: The Rational Choice Puzzle