Taming Globalization: International Law, the U.S. Constitution, and the New World Order

These two conservative legal scholars worry that globalization threatens to undermine American political and legal institutions. As economic interdependence has intensified, so, too, have efforts by the United States and other governments to manage and regulate it, leading to an unprecedented growth of international agreements, treaties, and organizations. Although various schools of legal scholarship embrace the idea that international law and institutions will and should play a larger role in American domestic lawmaking, Ku and Yoo seek to defend the sovereign authority of constitutional government. Their book suggests a set of doctrines for U.S. political leaders hoping to resist the encroachments of international law, including “non-self-execution,” which holds that international treaties and other international agreements have the force of law only if Congress acts to implement them. Perhaps the most con-troversial idea the authors advance is a version of legal federalism that would give individual U.S. states the authority to interpret and implement -- or ignore -- international law. Many readers will likely question whether such approaches would ultimately strengthen popular sovereignty and the rule of law or, in fact, weaken them.

Latest Commentary & News analysis