United Nations “human rights expert” suggests that compliance with international human rights norms may require casting about for some way to re-prosecute George Zimmerman since the first prosecution didn’t come out as some hoped. [Volokh] As Hans Bader points out, Article 14, Section 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights forbids, as opposed to requiring, the exposure of defendants to double jeopardy.
- Disabilities treaty might hit Senate floor soon; Sen. Hatch opposes [The Hill, Hatch, Heritage; earlier here, here, etc.]
- Right to expropriate trumps right to privacy? Georgetown lawprof claims Swiss bank confidentiality violates human rights [Stephen Cohen, SSRN via TaxProf]
- No thanks, we like our First Amendment: curbs on internet “hate speech” top agenda of UN committee;
- You know those unsound “no recognition of foreign law” bills popular in some state legislatures? Among their unintended effects could be to interfere with recognition of some international adoptions [Jefferson City, Mo. News Tribune, earlier] Court strikes down Oklahoma sharia ban [NPR]
- Two views of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, which President Obama is due to sign any day now [Bob Barr/Washington Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (editorial dismisses issue as mere “scarelore”)]
- Conservatives for looser asylum laws? About the German homeschooler case [Ann Althouse]
- Claim: international law forbids complicity in the death penalty [Bharat Malkani, OJ] Hans Bader on European court’s invalidation of “whole-life” sentences [CEI “Open Market”]
- “The War of Law: How New International Law Undermines Democratic Sovereignty” [Jon Kyl, Douglas J. Feith, and John Fonte, Foreign Affairs; Peter Spiro, OJ; related ForeignPolicy.com interview with Kenneth Anderson and Brett Schaefer]
Once again it is rumored that the Senate will take up the U.N.-sponsored Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Once more the editorialists at the New York Times are promoting the treaty with some dubious — in some cases, easily disproved — claims about what it would and would not do. I look at the controversy in a new post at Cato at Liberty.
Or would it instead be a human rights violation to let hunger-striking inmates starve? Or maybe both? Debra Saunders quotes my puzzlement at “the emotional atmospherics of hunger strikes, in which people are using other people’s morality as a weapon against them.” [San Francisco Chronicle/ syndicated]
As much as any other institution, the Ford Foundation has shaped the modern American law school, having provided key backing for developments such as clinical legal education, public interest law, identity-based legal studies, and transnational law. Whether you agree or disagree with Ford’s ideological thrust — and as a libertarian, I regularly disagree — it’s a pretty remarkable set of accomplishments. I give an overview and brief history in this new article for the Capital Research Center’s Foundation Watch, adapted from my book Schools for Misrule. (cross-posted from Cato at Liberty; welcome readers from George Leef, NRO)
- U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to Germany: to comply with your treaty obligations, you must punish this insensitive discussion of immigrants [Volokh, Bader]
- California’s Armenian genocide law entrenches on federal foreign affairs power [Ku/OJ]
- Heritage Foundation urges feds to overrule state marijuana laws on grounds of international treaty obligations [via @LucyStag]
- UN conventions ban torture, but that can bear meanings very different than in common parlance [Wesley Smith, Weekly Standard]
- Kiobel-aftermath marathon at Opinio Juris: Spiro, Lederman, Ku, Bellinger and Kontorovich, Alford, Phillips, Moyn, earlier here, here. More: Eugene Kontorovich podcast, Federalist Society.
- Underreported: how international vote buying influences outcomes in UN, similar bodies [Natalie Lockwood/OJ]
- Adding a Protocol: U.N. human rights chief “today welcomed the birth of a new mechanism which will empower individuals to seek out justice when their rights to food, adequate housing, education or health are violated.” [UN]
An immigration judge has ruled that the British government cannot deport convicted drug dealer Hesham Ali, who has never been in the country legally, because he has a girlfriend and making him leave would therefore violate his “right to family life” under the Human Rights Act [Telegraph]:
He convinced a judge he had a “family life” which had to be respected because he had a “genuine” relationship with a British woman – despite already having two children by different women with whom he now has no contact.
Ali also mounted an extraordinary claim that his life would be in danger in his native Iraq because he was covered in tattoos, including a half-naked Western woman – a claim which was only dismissed after exhaustive legal examination.
Meanwhile, Ted Frank argues that the case of the Tsarnaev family points up the longstanding problem of dubious or fraudulent asylum claims [Point of Law]
In my offhand judgment, Justice Breyer’s argument about the ATS and its “fit” with the presumption [against extraterritoriality] has force. (The Chief has an answer, but it’s a very close call.) What this is actually about, though, is a monitoring problem; and on that, the Chief is right.
The ATS has become a playpen for a cabal of international law enthusiasts and plaintiffs’ lawyers. Couple the former’s wild-eyed global aspirations with the latter’s eagerness to drag corporations through our one-of-a-kind tort system, and it’s Katy, bar the door. The Chief’s rule blocks all that: if it happened abroad, that’s it. Justice Breyer’s position, in contrast, would compel the Court to monitor all the places and institutions where this stuff gets out of hand: the Ninth Circuit; the wildest district courts in the country; the folks who are in charge of the Restatement of Foreign Relations; and the people who crank up “customary” international law (which becomes “customary” when someone at Yale Law School says it is, and the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs agrees). If some foreign employees of a U.S. company sue other employees of that company over tortious sexual harassment at the company’s foreign plants, has the defendants’ conduct “substantially and adversely affect[ed] an important American national interest,” that of serving as a beacon of sexual equality in the world? You tell me.
To ask the Supreme Court to keep an eye on this is to declare surrender. So it’s good that the Court has drawn a line. Whether it’ll hold, we’ll see.
“Human rights advocates claim that the depiction of torture in popular TV shows has had the effect of promoting the practice in real life, implying that the production companies may have failed to meet their responsibility to respect human rights as articulated in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.” [Faris Natour, JustMeans.com; Wired on Zero Dark Thirty] “So, ban Schindler’s List?” [@susanwake]
Meanwhile, the regime in Iran says it will sue over its depiction in the movie “Argo” [CNN; more from Wikipedia on French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, whose attempts to marry imprisoned terrorist Carlos the Jackal “have been frustrated by legal issues”]