International Law Outline


Foster and Elam v. Neilson



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Foster and Elam v. Neilson – SCOTUS – 1829 (313) – roots of “self-executing” distinction. Court decided Spanish grants to Ps not valid as domestic law until C passes legislation confirming grants.

  1. Treaty addressed to POLITICAL, not judicial department

  • US v. Percheman – SCOTUS – 1833 (313) – found same treaty self-executing

  • US v. Postal – 5th Cir – 1979 (313-14) – boarded ship outside of 12-mile zone of jurisdiction.

    1. Whether treaty is self-executing – CONTRACT INTERPRETATION for courts to decide

      1. Discern INTENT of parties

      2. Since Convention on High Seas multilateral treaty which has been signed by some states that DO NOT recognize treaties as self-executing, hard to ascribe common intent.


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