Lost in Translation: The Accidental Origins of Bond v. United States

Kevin L. Cope

University of Michigan

February 27, 2014

112 Michigan Law Review (First Impressions) 133 (2014)

Bond v. United States, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided last year, weighed the constitutionally of using the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and its implementing act to prosecute U.S. citizens for local assaults. Prior to the decision, both parties and numerous amici believed that the case could transform key parts of federalism doctrine and/or U.S. foreign relations. This essay gives a retrospective on Bond and the CWC’s U.S. implementation. It shows that the federalism issues central to Bond were overlooked during the CWC’s ratification and implementation, and that Congress and the State Department never envisioned Bond-like uses of the CWC Implementation Act. It offers a theory for this oversight, and it attempts to explain why international law like the CWC sometimes translates poorly into domestic law. Finally, it shows how cases like Bond showcase the unintended effects of those mistranslations.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: federalism, Congress, Constitution, treaties, chemical weapons convention, Supreme Court

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Date posted: March 1, 2014 ; Last revised: February 21, 2015

Suggested Citation

Cope, Kevin L., Lost in Translation: The Accidental Origins of Bond v. United States (February 27, 2014). 112 Michigan Law Review (First Impressions) 133 (2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2402268

Contact Information

Kevin L. Cope (Contact Author)
University of Michigan ( email )
7750 Haven Hall
505 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
202-215-4796 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://kevinlcope.com/
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