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Fordham Law Review

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The U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Medellin v. Texas raised many fascinating structural constitutional issues about the relationship between federal courts and international courts and the problem of delegations to international institutions. Yet, Chief Justice John G. Roberts's opinion for the Court managed to avoid direct discussion of any of this issue. Instead, it focused almost exclusively on the doctrine of non-self-execution. The Court's determination that the relevant treaties were non-self-executing lies at the heart of its decision. The focus on non-self-execution, however, does not mean that the complicated structural problems raised by Medellin do not exist. Rather, in this short essay, I argue that the problem of international delegations is crucial to understanding and justifying Chief Justice Roberts's application of the non-self-execution doctrine in Medellin.



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