Transnational Guidance in Terrorism Cases

32 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005

See all articles by Laura E. Little

Laura E. Little

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law


This article advocates using transnational materials as guides to adjudicating federal terrorism cases. Reacting to United States Supreme Court decisions using comparative law sources, Congress has sought to dramatically curtail federal court freedom to consider materials from other countries, from international organizations, and other international sources. This article argues that this approach fails to recognize that careful consideration of international and comparative laws is a rational adaptation to the social and global realities of transnational terrorism. The article outlines four main reasons that federal courts should use transnational materials when adjudicating federal terrorism cases: (1) the practice serves common sense; (2) the practice reflects methodologically good judging; (3) the practice serves the United States constitutional structure; and (4) the practice promotes the rule of law and world governance.

Keywords: terrorism, transnational norms, comparative law, constitutional law, national security, foreign relations law, international law

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Little, Laura E., Transnational Guidance in Terrorism Cases. Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2006-06; George Washington University International Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2006. Available at SSRN:

Laura E. Little (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-8955 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

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