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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Law Of Nations As Constitutional Law, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Oct 2013

The Law Of Nations As Constitutional Law, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark

Anthony J. Bellia

Courts and scholars continue to debate the status of customary international law in U.S. courts, but have paid insufficient attention to the role that such law plays in interpreting and upholding several specific provisions of the Constitution. The modern position argues that courts should treat customary international law as federal common law. The revisionist position contends that customary international law applies only to the extent that positive federal or state law has adopted it. Neither approach adequately takes account of the Constitution’s allocation of powers to the federal political branches in Articles I and II or the effect of these …


The Federal Common Law Of Nations, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Oct 2013

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

Anthony J. Bellia

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 …


The Alien Tort Statute And The Law Of Nations, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia Jr. Oct 2013

The Alien Tort Statute And The Law Of Nations, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia Jr.

Anthony J. Bellia

Courts and scholars have struggled to identify the original meaning of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). As enacted in 1789, the ATS provided "[t]hat the district courts... shall... have cognizance... of all causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." The statute was rarely invoked for almost two centuries until, in the 1980s, lower federal courts began reading the statute expansively to allow foreign citizens to sue other foreign citizens for violations of modern customary international law that occurred outside the United States. In 2004 …


The Origins Of Article Iii "Arising Under" Jurisdiction, Anthony J. Bellia Oct 2013

The Origins Of Article Iii "Arising Under" Jurisdiction, Anthony J. Bellia

Anthony J. Bellia

Article III of the Constitution provides that the judicial Power of the United States extends to all cases arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States. What the phrase arising under imports in Article III has long confounded courts and scholars. This Article examines the historical origins of Article III arising under jurisdiction. First, it describes English legal principles that governed the jurisdiction of courts of general and limited jurisdiction--principles that animated early American jurisprudence regarding the scope of arising under jurisdiction. Second, it explains how participants in the framing and ratification of the Constitution understood arising …