Customary International Law, the War on Terror, and the Constitution

International & National Security Law Practice Group

Listen & Download

The Law of Nations includes principles of customary international law. Customary international law has played a role in American history, at times in tension with the U.S. Constitution. Most recently, principles of customary international law have been relied on to support divergent policy choices, and have been featured in lawsuits addressing the War on Terror, particularly concerning the standards applicable to detainees. Many fundamental questions remain unresolved. How does customary international law relate to the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Supremacy Clause? What are the roles of the three branches in interpreting customary international law? Do customary international law principles establish a cause of action under the Alien Tort Claims Act or other statutes after Sosa? This program will focus on these and related issues of vital importance to the developing international system.

Speakers Include:

  • Prof. Martin Flaherty, Fordham University Law School, and Chairman of the NYC Bar Committee on International Human Rights
  • Prof. David Golove, New York University School of Law
  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Mr. David B. Rivkin, Baker & Hostetler
  • Judge José A. Cabranes, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit--Moderator