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International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law
Michael John Garcia (au)
This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the U.S. International law is derived from two primary sources ó international agreements and customary practice. Under the U.S. legal system, international agreements can be entered into by means of a treaty or an executive agreement. The Constitution allocates primary responsibility for entering into such agreements to the executive branch, but Congress also plays an essential role. First, in order for a treaty (but not an executive agreement) to become binding upon the U.S., the Senate must provide its advice and consent to treaty ratification by a two-thirds majority. Secondly, Congress may authorize congressional-executive agreements. Thirdly, many treaties and executive agreements are not self-executing, meaning that implementing legislation is required to provide U.S. bodies with the domestic legal authority necessary to enforce and comply with an international agreementís provisions. Contents of this report: (I) Introduction; (II) Forms of International Agreements: Treaties; Executive Agreements; Nonlegal Agreements; (III) Effects of International Agreements on U.S. Law: Self-Executing vs. Non-Self-Executing Agreements; Conflict with Existing Laws; (IV) Customary International Law; The Alien Tort Statute (ATS); (V) Reference to Foreign Law by U.S. Courts. Appendix: Steps in the Making of a Treaty and in the Making of an Executive Agreement. Figures.
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