International Law and Immigration

Ca. Int'l Law Journal VOL. 23, NO. 2, WINTER 2015


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a native of San Francisco, has written an exceptional new book titled The Court And The World — American Law and the New Global Realities. Observing that "[m]ore and more cases before the Court involve foreign activity," Justice Breyer persuasively argues that U.S. courts can, and often must, grapple with foreign legal authorities to decide questions arising under the Constitution or federal laws.

In Justice Breyer’s view, considering the input of foreign lawyers, governments and citizens does not undercut the right of "the American people . . . [to] democratically determine their own laws." As he explains through a review of multiple cases involving a spectrum of legal issues, "often, the best way to further the basic goals of . . . an American statute with foreign implications, or to properly enforce a treaty, or to determine how far beyond our shores our Constitution’s protection may extend, is to take account of a foreign as well as a domestic landscape."

Many of the cases and issues at the heart of The Court And The World were the focus of articles in past editions of The California International Law Journal. Given the profound influence of Justice Breyer on the Supreme Court, and his important contribution to matters of international jurisprudence, we were honored to interview him for this latest installment of the Practitioner’s Spotlight.

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