THE TOPICS ADDRESSED in this book illustrate the rich and varied role that international law plays in the U.S. legal system. Sometimes this role involves direct application of treaties or customary international law by the courts, but often it involves something else: codification by Congress; implementation through executive branch orders or regulations; indirect application through statutory interpretation; or a fusion of international and domestic legal principles in judicially developed common law. Indeed, a central theme of the book is that domestic law and institutions typically mediate the application of international law in the United States and, in doing so, international law is inevitably altered. The international law in the U.S. legal system is not the international law applied by, say, the International Court of Justice. This does not mean that the U.S. legal system always operates as a limitation on international law. At various times, starting at least as far back as the Supreme Court’s 1812 sovereign immunity decision in the ...
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