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Ali V. Rumsfeld: Challenging the President's Authority to Interpret Customary International Law

19 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2006  

Julian Ku

Hofstra University - School of Law

Abstract

Can a federal court override the executive branch's interpretation of customary international law? Ali v. Rumsfeld, the landmark lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Human Rights First against Donald Rumsfeld, squarely presents this important question, which has never been resolved by any court. In this symposium essay, I argue that a judicial determination of Rumsfeld's liability may require a federal court to override the executive branch's interpretation of CIL. Because the executive branch holds the primary responsibility for the interpretation of CIL on behalf of the United States, a judicial determination of Rumsfeld's liability could undermine the Constitution's allocation of foreign affairs powers to the President.

Keywords: constitutional law, international law

JEL Classification: K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Ku, Julian, Ali V. Rumsfeld: Challenging the President's Authority to Interpret Customary International Law. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 38, p. 371, 2006; Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=879238

Julian G. Ku (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
516-463-4237 (Phone)
516-463-6264 (Fax)

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