Transnational Culture Wars

36 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2015 Last revised: 23 Apr 2015

See all articles by Christopher McCrudden

Christopher McCrudden

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law; University of Michigan Law School; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Date Written: April 3, 2015


The well-known “culture wars” clash in the United States between civil society actors has now gone transnational. Political science scholarship has long detailed how liberal human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engage in extensive national and transnational activity in support of their ideals. More recently, US conservative groups (including faith-based NGOs) have begun to emulate these strategies, in particular promoting their convictions by engaging in transnational advocacy. NGOs thus face off against each other politically across the globe. Less well known is the extent to which these culture wars are conducted in courts, using conflicting interpretations of human rights law. Many of the same protagonists, particularly NGOs that find themselves against each other in US courts, now find new litigation opportunities abroad in which to fight their battles. These developments, and their implications, are the focus of this article. In particular, the extent to which US faith-based NGOs have leveraged the experience gained transnationally to use international and foreign jurisprudence in interventions before the US Supreme Court is assessed.

Keywords: human rights, comparative law, transnational law, non-governmental organizations, religion, citation of foreign judgments

JEL Classification: K19, K33, K39, K41

Suggested Citation

McCrudden, Christopher, Transnational Culture Wars (April 3, 2015). I.CON International Journal of Constitutional Law, Forthcoming; U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 447; Queen's University Belfast Law Research Paper No. 09. Available at SSRN:

Christopher McCrudden (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN
United Kingdom

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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