Loose Canons: International Law and Statutory Interpretation in the Twenty-First Century
6 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 19, 2010
This short paper discusses international law and statutory interpretation in the Supreme Court’s recent decisions. It argues that the last decade has been one of ferment. Some Justices, most prominently Breyer and Ginsburg, have invented new canons to determine the extraterritorial reach of statutes. Other Justices, most prominently Scalia and Thomas, have relied on the presumption against extraterritoriality, though shifting it in important ways. Neither camp has made much use of the Charming Betsy canon because it would allocate prescriptive jurisdiction in a way that neither finds desirable. The paper will appear in a forthcoming book on the history of international law in the U.S. Supreme Court to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.
Keywords: international law, statutory interpretation, extraterritoriality
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation