General

I am enjoying this discussion, not the least because it reveals some of the fundamentally different views of the law, and perhaps the world between Chris and myself. Chris makes a move that I've seen many international lawyers make. He concedes there are all sorts of problems with international institutions, but then suggests that the United States doesn't really...

I want to weave together a few separate strands from earlier postings, particularly the question of UN accountability, skepticism towards multilateralism, and the rule of law. Julian is concerned about a double standard in which some commentators apply more lenient criteria to UN bad acts than to the U.S. I think we’re all in agreement that the UN needs...

My next post will concern some issues of accountability and the rule of law, but I wanted to point out to anyone who may be interested that Cambridge University Press has just published a book entitled On the Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory by my colleague here at St. John's Law, Brian Tamanaha. Many lawyers, especially legal...

On a tangentially related topic, President Bush announced today that he is nominating Judge Michael Chertoff to be the new Homeland Security chief. I don't know all that much about Judge Chertoff, except that he is well-respected in conservative circles. Interestingly, he has penned what I think is a very convincing critique of the International Criminal Court based on the...

Just a quick note, because I think Chris' thoughtful response also illustrates part of the problem I was trying to get at in my first post. That is to say, do defenders of the UN engage in kneejerk defenses of the UN simply because their commitment to the UN's causes (e.g. world peace or, if you like, multilateral politics)...

Peggy and Julian have started us off with some great opening questions on UN reform. Also in the spirit of tossing our some preliminary comments, I want to begin by asking what it is we are actually debating about. Criticisms of the UN generally come under two broad categories: means and ends. Critiques of the means of the UN...

Peggy, Thanks for getting us off to a great start. The United Nations will no doubt be a perennial topic for us here. The UN is obviously having a rough period, at least in the U.S., where congressional committees are harassing it and certain right-leaning parts of the media are relentlessly attacking it. The right-leaning blogosphere is certainly on the case, as...

The Volcker Commission investigating fraud in the UN Iraq oil-for-food program released dozens of internal UN audit documents this weekend along with a statement that UN auditors knew of at least $5 million in losses resulting from mismanagement of the program. The full report on the oil-for-food program is not due until the end of January, but one interesting aspect...

Speaking of ontological debates, cracks may be showing in the façade (or is it a bulwark?) of American constitutional exceptionalism, i.e., the notion that US constitutional interpretation should remain unaffected by transnational legal trends and developments. This recent essay (subscription req'd) by Peter Spiro addresses the issue by applying international relations theory to explain how the disaggregated strands of transnational...

Welcome to Opinio Juris, a weblog dedicated to reports, commentary, and debate on current developments and scholarship in the fields of international law and politics. Our modest goal is to share with our readers a variety of perspectives on the role of international law in the U.S. and around the globe and to stimulate discussion within the community of international law...