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The Federal Common Law Of Nations, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Jan 2009

The Federal Common Law Of Nations, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark

Journal Articles

Courts and scholars have vigorously debated the proper role of customary international law in American courts: To what extent should it be considered federal common law, state law, or general law? The debate has reached something of an impasse, in part because various positions rely on, but also are in tension with, historical practice and constitutional structure. This Article describes the role that the law of nations actually has played throughout American history. In keeping with the original constitutional design, federal courts for much of that history enforced certain rules respecting other nations' perfect rights (or close analogues) under the …