Ali V. Rumsfeld: Challenging the President's Authority to Interpret Customary International Law
19 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2006
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: Suggested Citation