- U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities remains a bad, bad, bad, idea, but Senate Foreign Relations Committee has now scheduled hearings for Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 in effort to push it through;
- Proliferation of human rights treaties not necessarily good for, well, human rights [Jacob Mchangana et al. via Sullivan “Dish”; cf. David Kopel, NYT “Room for Debate” last year]
- Claim: Urban planning schemes are a human right [Wikipedia on “Right to the City”] U.N. Special Rapporteur calls for legally enforceable international right to food [UN]
- CRPD cited in Spain by group campaigning against “disability-selective abortion” [Pablo de Lora, Harvard “Bill of Health”]
- Some forms of national sovereignty OK after all? Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) cited in Indian tribal claims [Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Truthout] “Lakota to file UN Genocide Charges Against US, South Dakota” [Jeff Armstrong, CounterPunch]
- “N.Y. state appeals ruling opens courthouse door to foreign victims” [Alison Frankel] First post-Kiobel ATS case smacks down plaintiffs on South Africa claims [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris, Fed Soc Blog]
- Panel from Cato’s Constitution Day includes Kenneth Anderson discussing his excellent article on Kiobel in the Cato Supreme Court Review; also includes presentations by Ilya Somin on property rights and Andrew Grossman on City of Arlington, with Roger Pilon moderating [Cato video, podcast]
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, who is also a University of Arizona law professor, weighs in on the tribal side in Baby Veronica case [Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, earlier] Last year we discussed Mr. Anaya’s scolding of the U.S. government on Indian land claim issues. Just last week another official in the U.N. human rights apparatus upbraided the United States for hesitating to expose acquitted George Zimmerman to double jeopardy in the Trayvon Martin shooting.
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.
David Bosco, assistant professor at American University and contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, tweeting about the U.N. international small arms treaty that’s met with intense opposition from some gun-rights groups:
I predict US will sign arms trade treaty late on a Friday afternoon in summer.
— David Bosco (@multilateralist) June 4, 2013
- 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]
- Let’s hope not: is Kony case reconciling conservatives to International Criminal Court? [New Republic] Sea Shepherd case shows Alien Tort Statute can serve “conservative” as well as “liberal” ends [Eugene Kontorovich, earlier]
- “Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Sign On to Empty Human Rights Treaties” [Eric Posner, Slate, earlier]
- Or maybe non-empty? U.N. Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities said to require enactment of strong Europe-wide equivalent of ADA [Disability Law]
- A questionable free speech victory at the U.N. on defamation of religion [Jacob Mchangama]
- Tales of “independent” court reports that weren’t: “Chevron-Ecuador case expert switches sides” [SF Chron, December]
- New Kenneth Anderson book getting lots of recommendations: Living with the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order [Amazon]
- “Revive Letters of Marque and Reprisal to Launch Cyber-Attacks Against China?” [Julian Ku/OJ]
Because the important thing is to show that lawmakers have their hearts in the right place, which means not lingering over doubts about the constitutionality of the restrictions on speech or the implied rebuke to double-jeopardy norms or the nature of the delegation of federal power to tribal courts. Who cares about that stuff anyway when there’s a message to be sent about being tough on domestic violence?
P.S. In case you wondered, the U.N. is in favor.
A Yale professor calls for using the fledgling U.N.-system court to prosecute multinational businesses and their executives (“Treat Greed in Africa as a War Crime”). Red meat for some Times readers, no doubt, but among others alarm bells might start belatedly going off. I have more details in a new post at Commentary.