Paquete and the President: Rediscovering the Brief for the United States

9 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2014

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: 1994


This essay addresses the Brief of the United States in the famous but partly misunderstood Supreme Court case of The Paquete Habana, what the Executive was claiming, and what the Supreme Court ruled. Importantly, the Court affirmed a long line of cases that recognize that the President and all members of the Executive Branch are bound by customary international law, including at the height of presidential powers during a war, with respect to measures of warfare, and concerning conduct engaged in against aliens abroad. No one argued that the President is above the law and the Supreme Court upheld judicial power to second-guess Executive conduct during war on the basis of international law.

Keywords: aliens, blockade, bound, brief, capture, courts, customary, Hilton, international law, judicial power, laws of war, our law, Paquete Habana, President, seizure, treaty, vessel, war

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., Paquete and the President: Rediscovering the Brief for the United States (1994). 34 Virginia Journal of International Law 981 (1994), U of Houston Law Center No. 2014-A-16, Available at SSRN:

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

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