Friday, February 8, 2008

Diagonal Dialogue

We had the pleasure of hosting Professor Melissa Waters (left) yesterday at Temple's International Law Colloquium, and so received a sneak preview of her current work-in-progress, Diagonal Dialogue: Giving "Respectful Consideration" to International Courts' Treaty Interpretation. As a self-described "moderate internationalist" (with a motto of "Hell, maybe"), Prof. Waters is interested in charting out the territory that lies between a strictly monist and a strictly dualist vision of domestic incorporation of international law. If we label a monist vision as vertical and a dualist vision as horizontal, this paper explores the many diagonal lines that can be drawn between these two extremes. Taking the Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon decision as a case study, Prof. Waters formulates a framework for understanding the phrase used by all nine Supreme Court justices in describing how U.S. courts should treat the International Court of Justice's interpretation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: "respectful consideration." The paper aims to create a test that can be applied to similar cases while remaining faithful to the analysis used in Sanchez-Llamas -- a difficult but important task. While Prof. Waters is still working through the knots of this framework, her initial efforts show promise, especially in reaching her goal of speaking to both the internationalists and the nationalists, the monists and the dualists, and finding a method of domesticating international law with which we can all be comfortable -- a tall order indeed. You go, grrl!

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