The Sword and the Scales: The United States and International Courts and Tribunals

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The Sword and the Scales is the first in-depth and comprehensive study of attitudes and behaviors of the United States toward major international courts and tribunals, including the International Courts of Justice, WTO, and NAFTA dispute settlement systems; the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; and all international criminal courts. Thirteen essays by American legal scholars map and analyze current and past patterns of promotion or opposition, use or neglect, of international judicial bodies by various branches of the United States government, suggesting a complex and deeply ambivalent relationship. The United States has been, and continues to be, not only a promoter of the various international courts and tribunals but also an active participant of the judicial system. It appears before some of the international judicial bodies frequently and supports more, both politically and financially. At the same time, it is less engaged than it could be, particularly given its strong rule of law foundations and its historical tradition of commitment to international law and its institutions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This volume is an important step in furthering … knowledge, and it is essential reading for students of international courts and United States foreign relations law, as well as policymakers who hope to strengthen (or weaken) international adjudication in any area of the law, including climate law.' Climate Law

'… is one of the first systematic treatments of the United States' engagement with international courts and tribunals. … This volume goes far … in helping to provide some answers.' Netherlands International Law Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521728713
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 492
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Cesare P. R. Romano is Associate Professor of Law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles. He holds degrees in three different disciplines (political science, international relations and law) from three countries (Italy, Switzerland and the United States), and is a polyglot. His scholarship and teaching reflect the variety of his background. His expertise is in public international law, and in particular dispute settlement, international environmental law, international human rights and international criminal and humanitarian law, but he has also substantial background in diplomatic history and economics (macro). However, it is probably the field international courts and tribunals where he has made to date the greatest contribution, publishing numerous articles and four books. In 1997, he co-funded the Project on International Courts and Tribunals (, a joint undertaking of the Center on International Cooperation, New York University, and the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals at University College London, becoming a world-renowned authority in the field of law and practice of international courts and tribunals. He has directed PICT's American side since. Before joining Loyola Law School, Professor Romano taught or lectured in a number of institutions in the U.S. and Europe.

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Table of Contents

1. International courts and tribunals and the rule of law John B. Bellinger, III; 2. American public opinion on international courts and tribunals Steven Kull and Clay Ramsay; 3. Arbitration and avoidance of war: the nineteenth century American vision Mary Ellen O'Connell; 4. The United States and the International Court of Justice: coping with antinomies Sean D. Murphy; 5. The U.S. Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice: what does 'respectful consideration' mean? Melissa A. Waters; 6. U.S. attitudes toward international criminal courts and tribunals John P. Cerone; 7. The United States and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Elizabeth A. H. Abi-Mershed; 8. From paradox to subsidiarity: the United States and human rights treaty bodies Tara J. Melish; 9. The U.S. and international claims and compensation bodies John R. Crook; 10. Does the U.S. support international tribunals? The case of the multilateral trade system Jeffrey L. Dunoff; 11. The United States and dispute settlement under the North American Free Trade Agreement: ambivalence, frustration and occasional defiance David A. Gantz; 12. Dispute settlement under NAFTA Chapter 11: a response to the critics in the United States Susan L. Karamanian; 13. The United States and international courts: getting the cost-benefit analysis right Cesare P. R. Romano.

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