LEGAL RESEARCH BASICS - EXERCISES by KRb6iE

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									        NON-TREATY INTERNATIONAL LAW RESEARCH - EXERCISES

1.     Using Digest of United States Practice in International Law 2007, (http://2001-
2009.state.gov/s/l/2007/c27114.htm) find a June 2007 speech by a senior U.S. official
regarding the U.S. position on the relevancy of international law. Who gave this speech?
Do you believe that this speech indicates that the United States government believes that
the United States is bound by international law?

John B. Bellinger (Legal Adviser, U.S. State Department). His speech contains some
passages that indicate that he believes that the U.S. government is bound by
international law. See, for example, the sixth paragraph (“…how international law
binds us in our domestic system…”) and the first paragraph of the last section (“My
goal here is to clear up some common myths and misperceptions – including that
international law is not truly binding in our system”). But there are also some
passages that could lead to the opposite conclusion (“In response, the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals ruled that the President had no power to intervene in its affairs,
even to obtain compliance with an order of the ICJ” and “…our Supreme Court has
made clear that our Constitution protects certain core individual rights, including
the right to a fair trial, to free speech, and to equal protection of the laws, from
infringement by any legal act, including international rules”).

Path to find it: After opening the link, click on “List of Documents”, then browse
under relevant headings such as “Treaty Affairs” and “Foreign Relations”. Find
the speech, and then read it to get a sense of the views expressed in it.

2.      Find a law review article that discusses customary international law on torture.
Give its title and describe how you found it.

Joshua A. Decker, “Is the United States Bound by the Customary International Law
of Torture? A Proposal for ATS [Alien Tort Statute] Litigation in the War on
Terror”, Chicago Journal of International Law 6.2 (Winter 2006): p.803-832.

Path to find it: This is one of 5 law journal articles that I found indexed in
LegalTrac using the search terms <customary>, <law>, and <torture>, each as
separate entries in the “document title” field in the “advanced search” mode. The
full text of the article is available in Hein, Westlaw, and Lexis. An alternative
method would be to go to one of the above sources (Hein, Westlaw, or Lexis) first
and perform a search such as TI(custom! & “international law” & torture) in
Westlaw’s Journals & Law Reviews (JLR) database. I recommend starting with
LegalTrac because of the broad coverage of journals that are indexed in it. Hein
does include a number of journals that are not in LegalTrac, but sometimes the
most recent issues of certain journals are not in Hein’s “Law Journal Library”
database, so I recommend using Hein as a “back-up” source to search for articles in
after searching for them in LegalTrac first.
3.      Using the table of contents of the World Court Digest (you find the relevant
website), find a case on the immunity of a head of state from the jurisdiction of other
states. What case did you find?

Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium, Judgment of 14 February 2002.

Path to find it: At the World Court Digest page at the Max Planck Institute for
Comparative Public Law and International Law click on the “table of contents”
link. Scroll down to “4.2.7. Immunity of States”. Click on this link, and the
relevant case appears.

4.      Using the American State Papers (you find the relevant website), find an example
of U.S. state practice regarding an illegal blockade in 1823. In this example, President
James Monroe transmits a document from the U.S. Secretary of State. What is the
country mentioned in the document you found, and who is the author of the document?

Spain; John Quincy Adams.

Path to find it: At the American State Papers (ASP) web page in the Library of
Congress website, click on “Search this Title through the Collections Search Page”.
In the upper two boxes with drop-down menus, select “17th Congress, 1821-23” and
“American State Papers (table of contents/index)”. In the search box, use the search
term “blockade”. Click on the link “View Page 241”, which takes you to the
relevant document. An alternative method would be to “browse” the American
State Papers by clicking on the “Browse ASP” button from the home page, then
clicking on “contents” under Vol. 5 1818-1826 of the Foreign Relations section, then
performing a Ctrl-F search for the word “blockade.”

								
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