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External court based oversight maintains legitimacy – key internal link to global stability

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External court based oversight maintains legitimacy – key internal link to global stability

Knowles, 09 [Robert, Assistant Professor, NYU Law, “Article: American Hegemony and the Foreign Affairs Constitution”, 41 Ariz. St. L.J. 87, p. lexis]

The hegemonic model also reduces the need for executive branch flexibility, and the institutional competence terrain shifts toward the courts. The stability of the current U.S.-led international system depends on the ability of the U.S. to govern effectively. Effective governance depends on, among other things, predictability. n422 G. John Ikenberry analogizes America's hegemonic position to that of a "giant corporation" seeking foreign investors: "The rule of law and the institutions of policy making in a democracy are the political equivalent of corporate transparency and [*155] accountability." n423 Stable interpretation of the law bolsters the stability of the system because other nations will know that they can rely on those interpretations and that there will be at least some degree of enforcement by the United States. At the same time, the separation of powers serves the global-governance function by reducing the ability of the executive branch to make "abrupt or aggressive moves toward other states." n424 The Bush Administration's detainee policy, for all of its virtues and faults, was an exceedingly aggressive departure from existing norms, and was therefore bound to generate intense controversy. It was formulated quickly, by a small group of policy-makers and legal advisors without consulting Congress and over the objections of even some within the executive branch. n425 Although the Administration invoked the law of armed conflict to justify its detention of enemy combatants, it did not seem to recognize limits imposed by that law. n426 Most significantly, it designed the detention scheme around interrogation rather than incapacitation and excluded the detainees from all legal protections of the Geneva Conventions. n427 It declared all detainees at Guantanamo to be "enemy combatants" without establishing a regularized process for making an individual determination for each detainee. n428 And when it established the military commissions, also without consulting Congress, the Administration denied defendants important procedural protections. n429 In an anarchic world characterized by great power conflict, one could make the argument that the executive branch requires maximum flexibility to defeat the enemy, who may not adhere to international law. Indeed, the precedents relied on most heavily by the Administration in the enemy combatant cases date from the 1930s and 1940s - a period when the international system was radically unstable, and the United States was one of several great powers vying for advantage. n430 But during that time, the executive branch faced much more exogenous pressure from other great powers to comply with international law in the treatment of captured enemies. If the United States strayed too far from established norms, it would risk retaliation upon its own soldiers or other consequences from [*156] powerful rivals. Today, there are no such constraints: enemies such as al Qaeda are not great powers and are not likely to obey international law anyway. Instead, the danger is that American rule-breaking will set a pattern of rule-breaking for the world, leading to instability. n431 America's military predominance enables it to set the rules of the game. When the U.S. breaks its own rules, it loses legitimacy. The Supreme Court's response to the detainee policy enabled the U.S. government as a whole to hew more closely to established procedures and norms, and to regularize the process for departing from them. After Hamdi, n432 the Department of Defense established a process, the CSRTs, for making an individual determination about the enemy combatant status of all detainees at Guantanamo. After the Court recognized habeas jurisdiction at Guantanamo, Congress passed the DTA, n433 establishing direct judicial review of CSRT determinations in lieu of habeas. Similarly, after the Court declared the military commissions unlawful in Hamdan, n434 this forced the Administration to seek congressional approval for commissions that restored some of the rights afforded at courts martial. n435 In Boumediene, the Court rejected the executive branch's foreign policy arguments, and bucked Congress as well, to restore the norm of habeas review. n436 Throughout this enemy combatant litigation, it has been the courts' relative insulation from politics that has enabled them to take the long view. In contrast, the President's (and Congress's) responsiveness to political concerns in the wake of 9/11 has encouraged them to depart from established norms for the nation's perceived short-term advantage, even at the expense of the nation's long-term interests. n437 As Derek Jinks and Neal Katyal have observed, "treaties are part of [a] system of time-tested standards, and this feature makes the wisdom of their judicial interpretation manifest." n438 At the same time, the enemy combatant cases make allowances for the executive branch's superior speed. The care that the Court took to limit the issues it decided in each case gave the executive branch plenty of time to [*157] arrive at an effective detainee policy. n439 Hamdi, Rasul, and Boumediene recognized that the availability of habeas would depend on the distance from the battlefield and the length of detention. n440 The enemy combatant litigation also underscores the extent to which the classic realist assumptions about courts' legitimacy in foreign affairs have been turned on their head. In an anarchic world, legitimacy derives largely from brute force. The courts have no armies at their disposal and look weak when they issue decisions that cannot be enforced. n441 But in a hegemonic system, where governance depends on voluntary acquiesnce, the courts have a greater role to play. Rather than hobbling the exercise of foreign policy, the courts are a key form of "soft power." n442 As Justice Kennedy's majority opinion observed in Boumediene, courts can bestow external legitimacy on the acts of the political branches. n443 Acts having a basis in law are almost universally regarded as more legitimate than merely political acts. Most foreign policy experts believe that the Bush Administration's detention scheme "hurt America's image and standing in the world." n444 The restoration of habeas corpus in Boumediene may help begin to counteract this loss of prestige. Finally, the enemy combatant cases are striking in that they embrace a role for representation-reinforcement in the international realm. n445 Although defenders of special deference acknowledge that courts' strengths lie in protecting the rights of minorities, it has been very difficult for courts to protect these rights in the face of exigencies asserted by the executive branch in foreign affairs matters. This is especially difficult when the minorities are alleged enemy aliens being held outside the sovereign territory of the United States in wartime. In the infamous Korematsu decision, another World War II-era case, the Court bowed to the President's factual assessment of the emergency justifying detention of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. n446 In Boumediene, the Court [*158] pointedly declined to defer to the executive branch's factual assessments of military necessity. n447 The court may have recognized that a more aggressive role in protecting the rights of non-citizens was required by American hegemony. In fact, the arguments for deference with respect to the rights of non-citizens are even weaker because aliens lack a political constituency in the United States. n448 This outward-looking form of representation-reinforcement serves important functions. It strengthens the legitimacy of U.S. hegemony by establishing equality as a benchmark and reinforces the sense that our constitutional values reflect universal human rights. n449 Conclusion When it comes to the constitutional regime of foreign affairs, geopolitics has always mattered. Understandings about America's role in the world have shaped foreign affairs doctrines. But the classic realist assumptions that support special deference do not reflect the world as it is today. A better, more realist, approach looks to the ways that the courts can reinforce and legitimize America's leadership role. The Supreme Court's rejection of the government's claimed exigencies in the enemy combatant cases strongly indicates that the Judiciary is becoming reconciled to the current world order and is asserting its prerogatives in response to the fewer constraints imposed on the executive branch. In other words, the courts are moving toward the hegemonic model. In the great dismal swamp that is the judicial treatment of foreign affairs, this transformation offers hope for clarity: the positive reality of the international system, despite terrorism and other serious challenges, permits the courts to reduce the "deference gap" between foreign and domestic cases.

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