The much-discussed flirtation of Supreme Court justices with foreign law and transnational standards is something they can seemingly turn on and off at will, argues CEI’s Iain Murray in a WSJ letter to the editor: “to allow more lawsuits, the Supreme Court disregarded every foreign court ruling defining the word ‘accident’ in the Warsaw Convention, in Olympic Airways v. Husain (2004)…. The Supreme Court regularly ignores the international consensus against punitive damages and broad discovery, which most of the world forbids in civil cases, but the U.S. permits.”
- Coming up this Friday and Saturday Mar. 27-28 in D.C., Federalist Society holds star-filled conference on Treaties and National Sovereignty at George Washington University [Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz]
- Trade agreements are being promoted as extending progressive labor and environmental policies around the globe, hmmm [Simon Lester, related] Courts in European nations urged to use Charter to promote affirmative welfare rights, strike down laws liberalizing labor markets [Council of Europe]
- “Croatian-Serb war offenses litigated under Illinois and Virginia conversion/trespass tort law” [Volokh]
- “Did the Supreme Court Implicitly Reverse Kiobel’s Corporate Liability Holding?” [Julian Ku]
- “There Is No National Home for Art” (Kwame Anthony Appiah on cultural patrimony and antiquities repatriation, NYT “Room for Debate”, related Ku on Elgin Marbles; my take on the collectible-coin angle; earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.]
- British government alleges human rights lawyers continued to pursue claims against British military over Iraq even after evidence of probable falsity emerged [Telegraph]
- Treaties the Senate has blocked tend to be aspirational fantasies [Ted Bromund]
“…the Seychelles or Tonga would have worked just as well.” David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman say President Obama is using international law to advance domestic controls on the sly.
- Department of surreal headlines: “Detroit Mayor’s Office Disappointed With UN’s Stance on Water Shutoffs” [MLive.com via Deadline Detroit, earlier on customers who don’t pay Detroit water bills]
- “When Mr. Bond first impregnated Mrs. Bond’s best friend, the international Chemical Weapons Convention was probably the furthest thing from his mind.” [Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Cato Supreme Court Review (PDF), earlier on Bond v. U.S.]
- A case against including investor/state protections in trade negotiations [Daniel Ikenson, Cato] Issue leading leftists, libertarians separately to discover merits of sovereigntism? [Julian Ku, Opinio Juris]
- Survey of rapidly changing field of transnational antiquities law [ABA Journal]
- Canada, like U.S., gets periodic U.N. tongue-lashing over its relations with Indian tribes/native peoples [Kathryn Fort, ConcurOp]
- With U.S. isolated on firearms issues, U.N.’s contemplated Programme of Action on Small Arms not quite so innocuous [Ted Bromund, more, earlier here, here, here, and here]
- “The U.S. government should be careful about entering into new international agreements and treaties precisely because international laws do have legal force.” [Jason Sorens, Pileus]
Bloomberg’s nanny-in-chief was never the right choice to lead the Centers for Disease Control, much less with an actual epidemic in sight, argues the New York Sun:
…it was the former mayor of New York City who gave the nation Thomas Frieden, who is one dangerous doctor and is the middle of the catastrophe. … Because of the government’s blunders in the Ebola emergency, people are starting to look a harder look at Bloombergism.
… the CDC budget has soared more than 200% since 2000 to $7 billion. The Centers, moreover, are squandering this lucre (which was seized from the American public via taxes) on regulating motorcycle helmets, video games, and playground equipment, as if any of that has anything to do with diseases. No wonder that when Ebola hits, the CDC seems to be staggering….
Mr. Bloomberg is enormously invested in this through the school of public health at Johns Hopkins. Do Americans want a cabal of left-wing, government doctors in Atlanta engineering our playgrounds, motorcycle helmets, and video games? No one plays a video game or rides a motorcycle for his health….
It is important that the Ebola emergency is starting to get people thinking about the first principles of the Centers for Disease Control.
While we’re at it: I’ve got a new post at Cato about the international aspects, including the U.N.’s World Health Organization and Prof. Lawrence Gostin’s article “Healthy Living Needs Global Governance.”
- While Bond v. U.S. ruling was a letdown, notably absent was a liberal concurrence defending broad treaty power against critique of Thomas, Scalia et al [Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View, Peter Spiro/Opinio Juris, Julian Ku and John Yoo, David Golove And Marty Lederman]
- Think before you ratify: in controlled experiment, framing proposed change in domestic law as “required by human rights treaty” boosted support especially among Republicans [Spiro/OJ; more on international human rights treaties here]
- Sen. Ted Cruz publishes “Limits To the Treaty Power” in Harvard Law Review Forum [FedSoc Blog, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz]
- “The Ever Expanding Role of Trade Agreements: Human Rights” [Simon Lester, Cato]
- EU brass, reformist NGOs insisted that Romania shut down international adoption. Too bad what happened then [Meghan Collins Sullivan/World Affairs Journal, Stephen Beale/National Catholic Register]
- UK plaintiff’s firm Leigh Day helping Caribbean nations in reparations suit against UK [Telegraph, related]
- Not so liberal: Russia cites U.N. Convention on Rights of the Child in rationalizing anti-gay legislation [Box Turtle Bulletin; related on illiberal treaty applications in internet censorship (related), marijuana (related, earlier)]
A jealous wife’s attempt to poison a rival gave the Supreme Court a splendid chance to detoxify a pernicious constitutional law doctrine about the scope of the treaty power, but yesterday the Court passed up the chance. [Earlier.] My colleague Ilya Shapiro explains. Chief Justice Roberts, for the majority: “The global need to prevent chemical warfare does not require the federal government to reach into the kitchen cupboard, or to treat a local assault with a chemical irritant as the deployment of a chemical weapon.”
P.S. Congratulations to my colleague Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz and the Cato Institute amicus program (i.e. Ilya Shapiro) for the way Justice Scalia in his concurrence picks up whole chunks of argumentation from Nick’s 2005 HLR article on the treaty power and Cato’s recent amicus brief based on the same line of argument. Also, for those keeping score, this is another embarrassing 0-9 goose-egg defeat for the Obama administration, which once again took a position totally aggrandizing of federal government power and once again could not win for it the vote of even a single Justice. [piece slightly revised for style Tues. a.m.] More: Cato podcast with Ilya Shapiro.
“As part of trade talks, the European Union wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheese made in the United States.” Having achieved some success in negotiations with Canada and Central American nations, Europe may seek to restrict marketing of U.S.-made cheeses such as Asiago, fontina, Muenster, and Neufchatel.
And it may not be just cheese. Other products could include bologna, Black Forest ham, Greek yogurt, Valencia oranges and prosciutto, among other foods.
No word on renaming French fries. [AP]
- Environmental advocates and their fans in the press come off badly in Chevron/Ecuador litigation scandal [Coyote, earlier]
- Drought disaster unfolds in California’s Central Valley, where project water is allocated by fiat, not bid for in market [Allysia Finley, WSJ; San Jose Mercury-News]
- Other large democracies resist the idea of packing environmental terms into trade treaties, and maybe they’re right [Simon Lester, Cato]
- “A Tough Day in Court for the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations” [Andrew Grossman]
- R.I.P. leading environmental law professor Joseph Sax [NYT, I discussed his work in Schools for Misrule]
- Lawyers have hijacked Endangered Species Act [Congressional Working Group report via Washington Examiner editorial]
- When science begins bringing extinct animals back to life, watch for unintended legal consequences [Tyler Cowen]
A testy exchange between Justice Stephen Breyer and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. “was not the only signal that the administration may have difficulty winning in the case of Bond v. United States, which began as a ‘lover’s triangle’ dispute from Pennsylvania but has mushroomed into a major test of the power of Congress to implement international treaties in ways that may interfere with the prerogatives of the 50 states.” [Tony Mauro, NLJ, Daniel Fisher, earlier on Bond] Michael Greve finds the administration’s stance “breathtakingly aggressive. … when the government stumbles into Court with no principle, rule, or line to cabin its assertion of power, it loses. That’s Lopez, that’s Morrison, that’s NFIB.” [Liberty Law] Related, Peter Spiro/OJ.