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Treaties as Domestic Law in the United States

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the extent to which treaties constitute domestic law in the United States. All treaties into which the United States enters stem from the Constitution's treaty clause, which gives the President the power to make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate. In practice, though, the Court's treatment of treaties has not always lived up to that billing. What is clear is that treaties judged to be non-self-executing are now widespread, much to the chagrin of many scholars. An earlier source of confusion clarified by the Supreme Court long ago was the extent of Congress's power to implement legislation necessary to execute treaties. The doctrine of non-self-executing treaties, coupled with the constitutional limits on the subject matter of federal statutes, once threatened to doom many treaties' prospects as domestic law. Treaties do have limits, though.

Keywords: constitutional limits; domestic law; federal statutes; non-self-executing treaties

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