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University of Baltimore Journal of International Law

Abstract

In recent years, the “American Laws for American Courts” movement has swept across the country in an attempt to ban international law from U.S. state courts. This article specifically examines the Oklahoma Save Our State Amendment and the Arizona Foreign Decisions Act. In doing so, it addresses both the constitutional and policy problems with these attempts, observing that what the states have been trying to do is neither legal nor practical. It analyzes the inability of individual states to unilaterally avoid compliance with the United States’ international law obligations. It notes the absurdity in outlawing international law in order to uphold “American” rights when the well-known goals of international law itself are to protect the rights of all people. Finally, this article provides less extreme alternatives to an outright ban of all international law that will nonetheless support the well-intentioned aspects of the movement.

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