On studying international law.

There was an interesting piece on the university study of international law on the Marquette University Law Blog recently.

I found it interesting but was a little unsure whether “international law” here means law between nations or foreign law. If the latter, it may be less critically needed in Australian law schools, where foreign cases are routinely used for teaching purposes.

Speaking generally, I’m always intrigued by American lawyers’ relationship with transnational law. I have some sympathy with the scepticism and caution of someone like William Safire (‘The purloined treaty‘, NY Times, 9 April 2001). For example, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia can be said to have failed, noting that it has been so procedure-heavy that it remains prosecuting offenders some 20 years after the events in question, when national courts have moved significantly faster (eg Prosecutor v Saric (High Court of Denmark, Okten, Linæs and Øesterborg JJ, 25 November 1994, unreported).

The problem is that this caution rapidly shades into an unattractive scorn for international legal norms, including orders of the International Court of Justice (eg Ted Cruz. ‘SCOTUS rejects authority of World Court‘, Human Events, 1 April 2008). Its reductio ad absurdum, incidentally, seems to be in the non-ironic claim of the Eagle Forum that international law does not exist at all!