In 2014, when the Supreme Court decided Bond v. United States, it confronted
an issue of structural federalism that had long vexed advocates of big and small
government alike. The issue stemmed from the tension between the broad,
exclusive power the Constitution grants to the federal government to conclude
international treaties and the limitations that the Constitution places on
Congress’s domestic authority vis-à-vis the states. When these powers and
limitations conflict, which should win out? How expansive should the federal
government’s treaty power be? For both champions and critics of international
law, the Court’s response in Bond left much to be desired.