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Selected Works

Legal Studies

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Sovereignty And The American Courts At The Cocktail Party Of International Law: The Dangers Of Domestic Invocations Of Foreign And International Law, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2005

Sovereignty And The American Courts At The Cocktail Party Of International Law: The Dangers Of Domestic Invocations Of Foreign And International Law, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

With increasing frequency and heightened debate, United States courts have been citing foreign and “international” law as authority for domestic decisions. This trend is inappropriate, undemocratic, and dangerous. The trend touches on fundamental concepts of sovereignty, democracy, the judicial role, and overall issues of effective governance. There are multiple problems with the judiciary’s reliance on extraterritorial and extra-constitutional foreign or international sources to guide their decisions. Perhaps the most fundamental flaw is its interference with rule of law values. To borrow from Judge Harold Levanthal, the use of international sources in judicial decision-making might be described as “the equivalent ...


The Political Economy Of The Production Of Customary International Law: The Role Of Non-Governmental Organizations, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2003

The Political Economy Of The Production Of Customary International Law: The Role Of Non-Governmental Organizations, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

Increasingly, United States courts are recognizing various treaties, as well as declarations, proclamations, conventions, resolutions, programmes, protocols, and similar forms of inter- or multi-national “legislation” as evidence of a body of “customary international law” enforceable in domestic courts, particularly in the area of tort liability. These “legislative” documents, which this Article refers to as customary international law outputs, are seen by some courts as evidence of jus cogens norms that bind not only nations and state actors, but also private individuals. The most obvious evidence of this trend is in the proliferation of lawsuits against corporations with ties to the ...


State Laws And The Independent Judiciary: An Analysis Of The Effects Of The Seventeenth Amendment On The Number Of Supreme Court Cases Holding State Laws Unconstitutional, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2002

State Laws And The Independent Judiciary: An Analysis Of The Effects Of The Seventeenth Amendment On The Number Of Supreme Court Cases Holding State Laws Unconstitutional, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

In recent years, the Seventeenth Amendment has been the subject of legal scholarship, congressional hearings and debate, Supreme Court opinions, popular press articles and commentary, state legislative efforts aimed at repeal, and activist repeal movements. To date, the literature on the effects of the Seventeenth Amendment has focused almost exclusively on the effects on the political production of legislation and competition between legislative bodies. Very little attention has been given to the potential adverse effects of the Seventeenth Amendment on the relationship between state legislatures and the federal courts. This Article seeks to fill part of that literature gap, applying ...


Constitutional Structure As A Limitation On The Scope Of The "Law Of Nations" In The Alien Tort Claims Act, Donald J. Kochan Dec 1997

Constitutional Structure As A Limitation On The Scope Of The "Law Of Nations" In The Alien Tort Claims Act, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

Jurisdiction matters. Outside of the set of jurisdictional constraints, the judiciary is at sea; it poses a threat to the separation of powers and risks becoming a dangerous and domineering branch. Jurisdictional limitations serve a particularly important function when the judiciary is dealing with issues of international law. Since much of international law concerns foreign relations, the province of the executive and, in part, the legislature, the danger that the judiciary will act in a policy-making role or will frustrate the functions of the political branches is especially great. The Framers of the Constitution were particularly concerned with constructing a ...