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International Law - Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges - Event Video

A Conference Discussing the Contributions of Judge Robert H. Bork

As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration the Federalist Society presented a full-day Conference on June 26, 2007, honoring Judge Robert H. Bork and his contributions to the law.

Judge Bork has been a critic of the ascendancy of international law and its effect on America sovereignty. His broadest critiques note the vagueness of international law and the troubling fact that international law often rests upon no fixed political authority. Focusing special concern on "customary international law," often ascertained as the mere consensus of international legal scholars, Judge Bork writes that "[t]here could be no more anti-democratic way to make international law than to rest it upon the opinion of professors." He also has criticized the courts, citing as particularly problematic fashioning customary international law out of non-binding agreements and even international agreements that the U.S. has refused to join. Judge Bork has taken issue as well with U.S. courts' increasing propensity to cite foreign law in support of their decisions. How and with what limitations should U.S. courts apply international and foreign sources of law? Is modern customary international law really "law" as traditionally understood? Should foreign law ever be used by a judge to support decisions?

Panelists:

  • Prof. Gregory E. Maggs, The George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. Jeremy A. Rabkin, Department of Government, Cornell University
  • Prof. John C. Yoo, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
  • Moderator: David B. Rivkin, Baker Hostetler

The Mayflower Hotel,
Washington, DC

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