Customary International Law, Change, and the Constitution
45 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 28, 2017
Customary international law has changed in many ways since ratification of the U.S. Constitution. This Article considers the implications of those changes for customary international law’s role under the Constitution. In particular, it challenges the claims made in a new book, The Law of Nations and the United States Constitution, that U.S. courts must respect the “traditional rights” of foreign nations under the law of nations and may not apply the modern customary international law of human rights. The Article argues that the book is not consistent in its approach to changes in customary international law, embracing some while rejecting others. The Article also shows that a full account of how customary international law has changed undercuts each of the book’s two constitutional arguments.
Keywords: customary international law, law of nations, human rights, vattel
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