Theory of International Law

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A Study in Contrasting Jurisdictional Methodologies: The International Court of Justice’s February 2021 Judgments in Iran v. USA and Qatar v. UAE

The International Court of Justice issued two significant Decisions on Jurisdiction in early February: its 3 February 2021 Judgment in Iran v. United States (where the Court accepted jurisdiction over a dispute in which Iran alleged that the United States breached the 1955 Treaty of Amity between these two States) [hereafter, Iran v. US Judgment on Preliminary Objections], and the 4 February 2021 Judgment in Qatar v. United Arab Emirates (UAE) (where the Court declined jurisdiction over a dispute in which Qatar alleged that the United Arab Emirates breached the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) [hereafter, Qatar v. UAE Judgment on Preliminary Objections].  The Court voted overwhelmingly to reject the United States' preliminary objections (on three objections, unanimously, and on three other objections, by a vote of 15 to 1) in Iran v. United States (para. 114 of the Iran v. US Judgment), but voted on a more narrow majority to accept the UAE's two preliminary objections (by 11 votes to 6) in Qatar v. UAE (para. 115 of the Qatar v. UAE Judgment).

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Beyond the State: Our Shared Duties to Cooperate to Realize Human Rights during the Evolving Risks of a Global Pandemic

I was not expecting my University to land in global news reports this week (see here, here, here, and here, among others), because of its decision yesterday to temporarily move to online instruction after seeing a surge in COVID-cases barely two weeks into reopening in-person classes. The University of Notre Dame has marshaled considerable…

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Unrepentant: Sovereignty RIP

Warm thanks to the symposiasts and thanks again to EJIL: Talk! for opening its pages to an outsider to international law. It’s gratifying to garner some approval of what I did, far more gratifying to have people take it seriously. It would be boring, litigious, and anyway impossible in this space to…

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Burying Sovereignty All Over Again: A Brief Review of Don Herzog’s Sovereignty RIP

Don Herzog’s Sovereignty RIP is a great read and I highly recommend it. It is extremely well written and it has a compelling argument. It focuses on what it refers to as the classic theory of sovereignty under which "every political community must have a locus of authority that is unlimited, undivided and unaccountable to any higher…

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Sovereignty – an Empty Vessel?

Sovereignty RIP? In his book, Don Herzog urges us to “bury” the concept of sovereignty. Since sovereignty has mutated, over the centuries, from the idea of an “unlimited, undivided, and unaccountable locus of authority” (at xi) to a concept of which we now think as limited, divided, and accountable, it has basically turned meaningless and should therefore be…

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