Thursday, November 4, 2010
Voters in Oklahoma approved a ballet measure to amend the Oklahoma Constitution this week, State Question 755, that provides that Oklahoma courts "shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law." The "Save Our State Amendment" raises serious questions under the U.S. Constitution. As most readers of this blog are probably well aware, treaties are part of the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution and will trump any inconsistent state laws. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has long applied customary international law as part of the supreme law of the land as well. See, e.g., Paquete Habana. In submitting this legislative referendum to the voters, the Governor of Oklahoma stated in his Executive Proclamation that international law as used in the proposed amendment includes both the law of nations and international agreements or treaties. By prohibiting Oklahoma judges from applying U.S. treaty law, this amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution is likely a direct conflict with the oath those judges must take to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which declares treaties to be part of the supreme law of the land.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Did you compete in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition? Or serve as a judge? Or maybe you are a law student who is on a team now or planning to be next year? Or maybe you are (or were) a member of your school's International Law Society. There is a group on LinkedIn for Fans of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and the International Law Students Association (which sponsors the Jessup Competition). Click here to learn more about the group. And click here to learn more about ILSA and this year's Jessup problem.
For international law professors planning to attend the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) in San Francisco, CA, mark your calendars and plan to attend a breakfast program sponsored by the Pacific McGeorge School of Law for International Law Faculties and members of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Teaching International Law Interest Group (TILIG). The theme of the breakfast program is "Internationalizing Your Faculty." There are no formal speakers - a roundtable discussion will be encouraged. The date is Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 7 am. More information will be forthcoming, but you are welcome to contact the undersigned for information or check the ASIL webpage.
The 193 Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity concluded their 10th annual conference over the weekend with the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, which creates a 10-year stragetic plan. The plan identifies 20 headline targets organized within 5 strategic goals designed to protect biodiversity. Among the targets adopted by the Parties is the goal of reducing the extinction rate by 50% in the next ten years and the expansion of protected lands and oceans, as well as restoration of previously degraded areas. The Parties also agreed on new rules and procedures to faciliate greater sharing of scientific information and on increased financial support for the implementation of the Convention. The Nagoya Protocol is expected to enter into force in 2012. The next conference of the Parties will also be held in 2012 in India. More information may be found in this press release.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles will hold a program on November 12 on Extraterritoriality in American Law. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and they have an impressive lineup of speakers. For more information, contact the Southwestern Law Review Office at (213) 738-6744.
Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting papers for possible presentation at the 6th Annual Comparative Law Works in Progress Workshop, to be held at Yale Law School on February 11-12, 2011. The program is intended to provide an opportunity to discuss scholarly work and allow comparative law scholars to exchange ideas for two days.
Hat tips to Jacqueline Ross, Kim Lane Scheppele, and James Q. Whitman
On Friday, the President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Hisashi Owada, gave his annual report to the United Nations General Assembly. In his address, he emphasized the important role of the court in contributing to respect for and development of the rule of law. He also highlighted the court's increasing case load, with sixteen active cases this past year alone. While that might not sound like a lot by the standards of domestic courts, it is a larger than usual number of pending cases at the ICJ. President Hisashi Owada noted this positive development as a sign that more members of the international community are resorting to the court for peaceful dispute resolution. Territorial disputes, which are the most common types of disputes the court hears, remained part of its docket. But this year's docket also included disputes relating to diplomatic protection (Honduras v. Brazil), sovereign immunity (Germany v. Italy), environmental protection (Australia v. Japan), enforcement of commercial and civil judgments (Belgium v. Switzerland), and allegations of racial discrimination (Georgia v. Russia), among other issues. The Court also issued its closely scrutinized advisory opinion relating to the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. For more information regarding the ICJ's annual report, click here.