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The core idea underlying human rights is that everyone is inherently and equally worthy of respect as a person. The emergence of that idea has been one of the most significant international developments since the Second World War. But it is one thing to embrace something as an aspirational ideal and quite another to recognize it as enforceable law. The continued development of the international human rights regime brings a pressing question to the fore: What role should international human rights have as law within the American legal system? The U.S. Supreme Court and the Domestic Force of International Human Rights Law examines this question through the prism of the U.S. Supreme Court’s handling of controversies bearing most closely on it. It shows that the specific disputes the Court has addressed can be best understood by recognizing how each interconnects with an overarching debate over the proper role to be accorded international human rights law within American institutions. By approaching the subject from the justices’ standpoint, this book reveals a divide in the Court between two fundamentally different orientations toward the domestic impact of the international human rights regime.
Provides an intro. to the roles that international law and agreements play in the U.S. International law is derived from two primary sources ¿ international agreements (IA) and customary practice. Under the U.S. legal system, IA can be entered into by means of a treaty or an executive agreement. The Constitution allocates primary responsibility for entering into such agreements to the exec. branch, but Congress also plays an essential role. Contents of this report: (1) Intro.; (2) Forms of IA: Treaties; Executive Agreements; Nonlegal Agreements; (3) Effects of IA on U.S. Law; (4) Customary International Law; (5) Reference to Foreign Law by U.S. Courts. This is a print on demand edition of an important, hard-to-find report.
From its earliest decisions in the 1790s, the US Supreme Court has used international law to help resolve major legal controversies. This book presents a comprehensive account of the Supreme Court's use of international law from its inception to the present day. Addressing treaties, the direct application of customary international law and the use of international law as an interpretive tool, this book examines all the cases or lines of cases in which international law has played a material role, showing how the Court's treatment of international law both changed and remained consistent over the period. Although there was substantial continuity in the Supreme Court's international law doctrine through the end of the nineteenth century, the past century has been a time of tremendous doctrinal change. Few aspects of the Court's international law doctrine remain the same in the twenty-first century as they were two hundred years ago.
Human rights can be defined as the basic fundamental rights inherent to all human beings in any society. How these rights are made available and protected in individual countries is an area of much study and debate. Focusing on the significance of human rights in American law and politics, this book seeks to understand when, where, and how American law recognizes and responds to claims made in the name of human rights. How are they used by social movements as they advance rights claims? When are human rights claims accommodated and resisted? Do particular kinds of human rights claims have greater resonance domestically than others? What cultural and psychological factors impede the development of a human rights culture in the United States? This is an exciting and engaging volume that will appeal to a broad range of scholars, practitioners, and students interested in the study of human rights.
This book provides the first detailed history of the Constitution's treaty supremacy rule. It describes a process of invisible constitutional change. The traditional supremacy rule provided that all treaties supersede conflicting state laws; it precluded state governments from violating U.S. treaty obligations. Before 1945, treaty supremacy and self-execution were independent doctrines. Supremacy governed the relationship between treaties and state law. Self-execution governed the division of power over treaty implementation between Congress and the President. In 1945, the U.S. ratified the UN Charter, which obligates nations to promote human rights "for all without distinction as to race." In 1950, a California court applied the Charter's human rights provisions and the traditional treaty supremacy rule to invalidate a state law that discriminated against Japanese nationals. The implications were shocking: the decision implied that the United States had effectively abrogated Jim Crow laws throughout the South by ratifying the UN Charter. In response, conservatives mobilized support for a constitutional amendment, known as the Bricker Amendment, to abolish the treaty supremacy rule. The amendment never passed, but Bricker's supporters achieved their goals through de facto constitutional change. The de facto Bricker Amendment created a novel exception to the treaty supremacy rule for non-self-executing (NSE) treaties. The exception permits state governments to violate NSE treaties without authorization from the federal political branches. The death of treaty supremacy has significant implications for U.S. foreign policy and for U.S. compliance with its treaty obligations.
"In this original, far-reaching, and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private--from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade--obliges the Court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America's borders. It is a world of instant communications, lightning-fast commerce, and shared problems (like public health threats and environmental degradation), and it is one in which the lives of Americans are routinely linked ever more pervasively to those of people in foreign lands. Indeed, at a moment when anyone may engage in direct transactions internationally for services previously bought and sold only locally (lodging, for instance, through online sites), it has become clear that, even in ordinary matters, judicial awareness can no longer stop at the water's edge. To trace how foreign considerations have come to inform the thinking of the Court, Justice Breyer begins with that area of the law in which they have always figured prominently: national security in its constitutional dimension--how should the Court balance this imperative with others, chiefly the protection of basic liberties, in its review of presidential and congressional actions? He goes on to show that as the world has grown steadily "smaller," the Court's horizons have inevitably expanded: it has been obliged to consider a great many more matters that now cross borders. What is the geographical reach of an American statute concerning, say, securities fraud, antitrust violations, or copyright protections? And in deciding such matters, can the Court interpret American laws so that they might work more efficiently with similar laws in other nations? While Americans must necessarily determine their own laws through democratic process, increasingly, the smooth operation of American law--and, by extension, the advancement of American interests and values--depends on its working in harmony with that of other jurisdictions. Justice Breyer describes how the aim of cultivating such harmony, as well as the expansion of the rule of law overall, with its attendant benefits, has drawn American jurists into the relatively new role of "constitutional diplomats," a little remarked but increasingly important job for them in this fast-changing world."--Publisher's description.
Much of international law, like much of contract, is enforced not by independent sanctions but rather through cooperative interaction among the parties, with repeat dealings, reputation, and a preference for reciprocity doing most of the enforcement work. Originally published in 2006, The Limits of Leviathan identifies areas in international law where formal enforcement provides the most promising means of promoting cooperation and where it does not. In particular, it looks at the International Criminal Court, the rules for world trade, efforts to enlist domestic courts to enforce orders of the International Court of Justice, domestic judicial enforcement of the Geneva Convention, the domain of international commercial agreements, and the question of odious debt incurred by sovereigns. This book explains how international law, like contract, depends largely on the willingness of responsible parties to make commitments.

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