Law 792:  The Constitutional Law of U.S. Foreign Affairs

The purpose of this seminar will be to analyze the constitutional framework surrounding the conduct of foreign relations by the United States government. One of the major themes of the course will be that the Executive Branch of the federal government must come to understand that the constitutionally mandated separation-of-powers system, together with its concomitant rule of law, must be accepted as an historical fact to be dealt with on its own terms, rather than subverted, ignored, or expressly violated. If the Executive Branch wishes to design and execute a coherent and consistent foreign policy, it must take into account and cooperate with the Congress, and to a lesser extent the Courts, in the formulation of American foreign policy. The much vaunted goal of developing a truly bipartisan approach to foreign affairs cannot be achieved unless and until the President is willing to recognize the facts that the Congress is an independent and co-equal branch of government as well as that the President is subject to the rule of law in the area of foreign policy as well as domestic affairs.

The course will focus upon specific problem areas within which these issues have already been historically addressed: the right to foreign travel; intelligence operations and secrecy; the war powers controversy and military operations abroad; treaties and other international agreements, particularly with respect to human rights and arms control; the relationship between the federal government and the states of the union in foreign affairs; citizenship, immigration, deportation, and exclusion; the rights of aliens; international criminal jurisdiction of U.S. courts and international terrorism; foreign sovereign immunity; the act of state doctrine; and the political question doctrine in the foreign affairs area.

Sequence and Prerequisites: None

Evaluation: Paper

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