In the news: chemical weapons, treaties, and privacy

Before my International Law class moves on to International Environmental Law, it is worth noting news from the last week that is relevant to topics we recently covered.

Bond v. United States
First, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Bond v. United States. This case should interest us for a number of reasons. One is that it deals with the ability of Congress to implement treaties using statutes that could potentially intrude on the sovereignty of individual states. This is being viewed as a contemporary version of Missouri v. Holland.

The other, very intriguing, issue is whether the Chemical Weapons Convention can apply to a conventional poisoning case. Essentially one woman poisoned another woman in Pennsylvania (for sleeping with her husband and getting impregnated). The case, which normally would be handled by local and state authorities, ended up becoming a federal case as violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Which on the face of it is a very odd interpretation of that treaty.

For more information, see:
        SCOTUSblog’s page on the case
        Articles in Opinio Juris by Peter Spiro and Marty Lederman
        Articles at Volokh Conspiracy

Privacy and Spying
Spying is all over the news. The US is, apparently, spying on just about everyone. Or, at least, that is what one must think after reading all of these stories. Over at Lawfare, Orin Kerr has a piece discussing whether U.S. law should protect the privacy of foreigners abroad. This is an interesting spin on the themes we have discussed in our class about the extraterritorial application of US law.

As for all of that spying on heads of states stuff, I must say I am shocked anyone is shocked. Hasn’t that always been the case? Isn’t that what we expect?

About mbnelson

Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University
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