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The Original Source Of The Cause Of Action In Federal Courts: The Example Of The Alien Tort Statute, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Apr 2015

The Original Source Of The Cause Of Action In Federal Courts: The Example Of The Alien Tort Statute, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark

Journal Articles

Judges and scholars have long debated the legitimacy and contours of federal common law causes of action — actions created neither by Congress nor by state law. The question of federal judicial power to recognize federal common law causes of action arises in a range of contexts in the field of federal courts, including with respect to whether federal courts may recognize an implied right of action for the violation of a constitutional or statutory provision that does not specifically create one. Recently, the power of federal courts to recognize federal common law causes of action has emerged as a …


Re-Examining Customary International Law And The Federal Courts: An Introduction, Anthony J. Bellia Dec 2010

Re-Examining Customary International Law And The Federal Courts: An Introduction, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

Legal scholars have debated intensely the role of customary international law in the American federal system. The debate involves serious questions surrounding the United States's constitutional structure, foreign relations, and human rights. Despite an impressive body of scholarship, the debate has stood at an impasse in recent years, without either side garnering a consensus. This symposium–Re-examining Customary International Law and the Federal Courts–aspires to help advance the debate over the status of customary international law in the federal courts.

The symposium received thoughtful and constructive contributions from Professors Curtis A. Bradley, Bradford R. Clark, Andrew Kent, Carlos M. Vizquez, and …


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 …


Sosa, Federal Question Jurisdiction, And Historical Fidelity, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2007

Sosa, Federal Question Jurisdiction, And Historical Fidelity, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

In his paper "International Human Rights in American Courts," Judge Fletcher concludes that Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain “has left us with more questions than answers.” Sosa attempted to adapt certain principles belonging to the "general law" to a post-Erie positivistic conception of common law while maintaining fidelity to certain historical expectations. “[I]t would be unreasonable,” the Court thought, “to assume that the First Congress would have expected federal courts to lose all capacity to recognize enforceable international norms simply because the common law might lose some metaphysical cachet on the road to modern realism.” The Court was unwilling, however, out …