This course examines the law governing the conduct of U.S. foreign relations. The Constitution sets out the basic framework for foreign relations law, but it leaves much unsaid and at least as much subject to interbranch contests for power. Topics will include the allocation of powers between the executive, legislature, and judiciary; the political question, act of state, and other doctrines governing judicial review of foreign relations; the role of federalism in foreign relations; the scope of the treaty power and executive agreements; the status of customary international law in U.S. courts; and the power to declare war and control the use of force. The final sessions of the course will be devoted to timely foreign relations controversies drawn from, for example, pending court cases and recent events.
A prior course in structural constitutional law, federal courts, or international law would be helpful, but is not required. Grades will be based on a research paper, in-class presentation, and active participation in class discussions.