Lily Batchelder


Natsios v. National Foreign Trade Council, 181 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. 1999), cert. granted, 68 U.S.L.W. 3353 (Nov. 29, 1999) (No. 99-474).

Last fall's protests at the World Trade Organization (WTO) convention in Seattle evidenced mounting pressure by states and municipalities to retain their authority to further shared values of environmental conservation, labor standards, and human rights through their government procurement policies. As one local commentator lamented, "the WTO has had a tremendous chilling effect on jurisdictions. ,, For example the Seattle City Council declined to enact a selective purchasing ordinance targeting human rights abuses in Burma after a similar law in Massachusetts was challenged before the WTO. That law, the Massachusetts Burma Law (MBL), now faces constitutional challenge as well. In Natsios v. National Foreign Trade Council, the Supreme Court will decide the MBL's fate under U.S. law, presumably the validity of at least 31 other municipal selective purchasing laws targeting Burma and other countries and the ex post legality of 117 such laws aimed at apartheid South Africa.

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