International Law in Domestic Courts: ATS Litigation and Climate Change

in The Perils of Global Legalism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675923 | DOI:
International Law in Domestic Courts: ATS Litigation and Climate Change

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For global legalists, the ideal dispute-resolution mechanism for international law violations is the international tribunal; but in practice, the most exciting international litigation is taking place in U.S. domestic courts. This paradox reflects the basic tensions of global legalism: law without government exists at the international level, law normally requires courts to interpret and enforce it, effective courts cannot exist without supporting government institutions, no such institutions exist at the international level. In the absence of effective international courts, the next best thing is the domestic court, which can at least apply the law and enforce it—and maybe advance it. Alien Tort Statute litigation embodies the paradoxes of global legalism. This chapter explores the legalistic response to the most challenging global problem of our time: climate change. It discusses the different categories of domestic litigation in the United States, including nuisance and environmental litigation, and considers litigation in international courts.

Keywords: global legalism; United States; international law; domestic courts; Alien Tort Statute; international courts; litigation; climate change; nuisance

Chapter.  7383 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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