International Decision, Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., No. 16-1220 (U.S. 2018)
112 AM. J. INT’L L. __ Forthcoming
8 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2018 Last revised: 12 Aug 2019
Date Written: September 19, 2018
When a foreign country's law is relevant to a case in U.S. federal court and the foreign country files an official statement about the meaning of its law, how should U.S. courts treat the foreign government's representations? In Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceuticals Co., the Supreme Court of the United States held that "[a] federal court should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government's submission, but is not bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government's statements". The Supreme Court settled a circuit split and reversed a Second Circuit opinion that had given conclusive effect to the Chinese government's representations about its domestic law. Animal Science Products provides important guidance to federal courts faced with increasingly frequent filings by foreign governments, but it leaves unresolved significant questions about deference to foreign sovereign amici and preserves existing debates about the nature of "respectful consideration".
Keywords: Supreme Court, Deference, Skidmore, Amicus, Amici, Foreign Sovereign Amici, Chevron, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
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