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Sovereignty And The American Courts At The Cocktail Party Of International Law: The Dangers Of Domestic Invocations Of Foreign And International Law, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2005

Sovereignty And The American Courts At The Cocktail Party Of International Law: The Dangers Of Domestic Invocations Of Foreign And International Law, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

With increasing frequency and heightened debate, United States courts have been citing foreign and “international” law as authority for domestic decisions. This trend is inappropriate, undemocratic, and dangerous. The trend touches on fundamental concepts of sovereignty, democracy, the judicial role, and overall issues of effective governance. There are multiple problems with the judiciary’s reliance on extraterritorial and extra-constitutional foreign or international sources to guide their decisions. Perhaps the most fundamental flaw is its interference with rule of law values. To borrow from Judge Harold Levanthal, the use of international sources in judicial decision-making might be described as “the equivalent ...


No Longer Little Known But Now A Door Ajar: An Overview Of The Evolving And Dangerous Role Of The Alien Tort Statute In Human Rights And International Law Jurisprudence, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2004

No Longer Little Known But Now A Door Ajar: An Overview Of The Evolving And Dangerous Role Of The Alien Tort Statute In Human Rights And International Law Jurisprudence, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

Human rights’ and other international law activists have long worked to add teeth to their tasks. One of the most interesting avenues for such enforcement has been the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). The ATS has become the primary vehicle for injecting international norms and human rights into United States courts – against nation-states, state actors, and even private individuals or corporations alleged to actually or in complicity or conspiracy been responsible for supposed violations of international law. This Symposium Article provides an overview of the ATS evolution (or revolution), discusses the most recent significant development in the evolution arising from some ...


Constitutional Structure As A Limitation On The Scope Of The "Law Of Nations" In The Alien Tort Claims Act, Donald J. Kochan Dec 1997

Constitutional Structure As A Limitation On The Scope Of The "Law Of Nations" In The Alien Tort Claims Act, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

Jurisdiction matters. Outside of the set of jurisdictional constraints, the judiciary is at sea; it poses a threat to the separation of powers and risks becoming a dangerous and domineering branch. Jurisdictional limitations serve a particularly important function when the judiciary is dealing with issues of international law. Since much of international law concerns foreign relations, the province of the executive and, in part, the legislature, the danger that the judiciary will act in a policy-making role or will frustrate the functions of the political branches is especially great. The Framers of the Constitution were particularly concerned with constructing a ...