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Berman essay published in 'Missouri Law Review'

March 02, 2009

An essay by Dean Paul Schiff Berman, of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, "Federalism and International Law Through the Lens of Legal Pluralism," was recently published in a symposium issue of the Missouri Law Review.

In the essay, Berman suggests that we would profit from thinking about both the relationship between international and national law and the relationship between federal and state law in less rigidly hierarchical terms. Thus, instead of trying to fix which legal regime "trumps," we should allow for a more fluid interaction among multiple regulatory bodies by asking courts and other decision makers to try to defer to other lawmaking bodies whenever possible and explicitly justify any refusal to defer.

Berman then explores how this more pluralist approach would have changed the result in Medellin v. Texas, a recent Supreme Court case exploring the bounds of authority of Texas, the federal government, and the International Court of Justice in a death penalty case implicating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Berman's scholarship focuses on the intersection of international law, conflict of laws, cyberspace law, and the cultural analysis of law.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law