In This Review

Political Questions/Judicial Answers: Does The Rule Of Law Apply To Foreign Affairs
Political Questions/Judicial Answers: Does The Rule Of Law Apply To Foreign Affairs
By Thomas M. Franck
Princeton University Press, 1992, 191 pp.

Should the rule of law stop at the water's edge, asks the author, a distinguished professor of law at New York University who is also highly knowledgeable in foreign affairs. Observing that American courts often refuse to take on cases that have a foreign policy aspect to them, on the basis that these are executive branch or "political" matters, he has written a masterful treatise challenging that practice. Such reticence, amounting at times to abdication, is seen as undesirable evasion and a misreading of constitutional theory. The notion of special dispensation for issues relating to the practice of foreign affairs has its origins in Marbury v. Madison (1803), but it has spread too widely, says Franck. This lucid, superbly argued book makes its case very convincingly.