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A Global Paradigm Shattered: The Jurisdictional Nihilism of the Supreme Court's Abduction Decision in Alvarez-Machain

49 Pages Posted: 8 May 2008  

Andrew L. Strauss

Widener University

Date Written: January 1, 1994

Abstract

In the United States v. Alvarez Machain, the United States Supreme Court held that the United States could exercise criminal jurisdiction over a Mexican doctor who was abducted by agents of the American government from his office in Mexico and transported to the United States. As the Court's first international law decision after the end of the cold war, this case set the stage for how it would approach the domestic application of international law in the post cold war era. Despite the importance of the case, the Supreme Court failed to articulate the conceptual understanding of the relationship between the domestic and international orders which led it to disregard international law. Working from the author's own positivist theory of the relationship between the domestic and international realms, he explains why the decision lacks conceptual coherence and offers a structured analysis which leads to the conclusion that the Court should have applied the international law of jurisdiction.

Keywords: international law, jurisdiction, abduction

JEL Classification: K33, K14

Suggested Citation

Strauss, Andrew L., A Global Paradigm Shattered: The Jurisdictional Nihilism of the Supreme Court's Abduction Decision in Alvarez-Machain (January 1, 1994). Temple Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 4, January 1994. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1130359

Andrew L. Strauss (Contact Author)

Widener University ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
PO Box 69381
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9381
United States

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