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Citizens Not Subjects: U.S. Foreign Relations Law and the Decentralization of Foreign Policy


Nick Robinson


Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession; Center for Policy Research (India)

May 14, 2007

Akron Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 647, 2007

Abstract:     
In a globalized world localities actions have become intertwined in foreign affairs. However, U.S. foreign relations law still finds localities role in international affairs suspect and strongly biases federalizing matters that pertain to international relations. As local governance becomes more internationally saturated, this jurisprudence threatens to both undercut local democracy and weaken U.S. foreign policy. This article applies traditional pro-federalism arguments to defend a partial decentralization of foreign relations in which localities and the federal government are concurrent actors in foreign affairs. It argues that courts should abandon doctrines of heightened preemption in foreign relations and instead let the executive and legislature specifically preempt a locality’s policy if it interferes with U.S. foreign policy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 69

Keywords: Foreign Relations Law, Decentralized Foreign Policy, US Constitution, dormant foreign affairs power, dormant commerce clause, political question doctrine

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Date posted: March 31, 2012 ; Last revised: August 21, 2014

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Nick, Citizens Not Subjects: U.S. Foreign Relations Law and the Decentralization of Foreign Policy (May 14, 2007). Akron Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 647, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2031935

Contact Information

Nick Robinson (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession ( email )
1563 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Center for Policy Research (India) ( email )
Dharma Marg
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi, 110022
India
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