24 Feb Missouri Law School Symposium on Judging: Blackmun’s Internationalist Legacy
Out here at the University of Missouri-Columbia we are hosting a symposium this weekend (Feb. 25-26), “Reflections on Judging: A Discussion Following the Release of the Blackmun Papers.” The line-up of speakers includes judges (Duane Benton, 8th Circuit, Colleen McMahon, SDNY), scholars (Suzanna Sherry, Dan Farber, Ellen Deason, Ted Ruger, Greg Sisk, Larry Wrightsman, Joseph Kobylka, Chris Wells, Martha Dragich, Richard Reuben) and at least one Supreme Court watcher, Tony Mauro, discussing Blackmun’s legacy, what we mean by judging, and what makes for “good” or “bad” judges. Full details are here. For those interested in watching, the panel on Saturday morning is scheduled to be taped by C-Span.
One aspect of Blackmun’s legacy that goes largely overlooked — and about which yours truly will be commenting on Saturday morning — is the extent to which he was one of the Court’s strongest “internationalists.” In the context of judging, the term “internationalist” is generally applied to those who not only take seriously the need for efficiency in transnational business relations (See, e.g., Blackmun’s majority opinion in Mitsubishi v. Soler) and our treaty obligations (See Blackmun’s dissents in Alvarez-Machain and Sale v. Haitian Centers Council) , but also find space in constitutional jurisprudence for customary international law and the opinion of other courts on matters such as the death penalty. For a summary of how Blackmun thought the Court should treat international law and the “Opinions of Mankind,” see his short essay, The Supreme Court and the Law of Nations, reprinted in the 1994 Yale Law Journal. I will blog more on this following the symposium.