Jenny S. Martinez

Who’s Afraid of International and Foreign Law?

In response to Justice Stephen Breyer’s 2015 Brennan Center Jorde Symposium Lecture104 Calif. L. Rev. 1553 (2016).

 

Justice Stephen Breyer’s new book, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities,1 is a timely contribution to the literature on the effects of globalization on the U.S. judicial system.2 In his book, Justice Breyer goes beyond the now-familiar debate about the use of comparative and international law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution3 and examines some less glamorous but actually more important ways that the world outside our borders inevitably affects the resolution of many types of legal disputes.4 The impact of foreign and international legal systems on American judicial proceedings is not brand new, of course. Indeed, foreign and international law were fixtures of the Supreme Court’s early docket.5 But it is also true that Justice Breyer’s tenure on the Supreme Court has coincided with an era of renewed globalization. The book is very much a product of our times.

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