While the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision Medellin v. Texas upended the presumption that treaties creating private rights of action are self-executing, jeopardizing the judiciary's power to enforce several important international treaties, this Article explains why the Medellin decision does not sound the death knell for enforcement of treaties in U.S. courts. The Article begins by providing an account of the broader legal and historical context of Medellin-examining both the case law that led up to the decision and ways in which the lower courts have begun to respond to it. At the start of the twentieth century, the courts applied a strong presumption that treaties could be used by private litigants in court to press their claims. As international treaties-and international human rights treaties in particular-proliferated after World War II, however, the courts largely abandoned this presumption in favor of enforcement.
Oona A. Hathaway, Sabria McElroy & Sara A. Solow,
International Law at Home: Enforcing Treaties in U.S. Courts,
Yale J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol37/iss1/3