This article considers Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion in the case of Medellin v. Texas. Like much of the commentary on this case, the article considers the international law implications of the opinion and its consideration of the doctrine of self-executing treaties. The primary focus here, however, consistent with the symposium in which this paper was presented, is on the opinion's implications for the separation of powers and for federalism. While the opinion's discussion of international law and treaty implementation can be considered dicta, the separation of powers and federalism portions may be seen as more directly necessary to the outcome in the case. Nonetheless, the way in which Chief Justice Roberts addresses treaty law within the U.S. legal system raises important questions about settled assumptions regarding the powers of Congress and the President, as well as about the role of the states in implementing (or frustrating) the application of treaty law in U.S. courts.
Ronald A. Brand,
Treaties and the Separation of Powers in the United States: A Reassessment after Medellin v. Texas,
Duquesne Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.pitt.edu/fac_articles/319