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Missouri Law Review

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This brief essay highlights the central and important role that state governments play in the development and integration of private international law treaties into the United States legal system. States play this central role even though, as some of the papers in this symposium have concluded, there are few, if any, constitutional constraints on the ability of the federal government to sign, ratify, and implement treaties that would displace state law.

The primacy of states in the integration of private international law, this essay argues, points the way to a model of accommodation of other kinds of treaties affecting traditional areas of state control. The model of state government control over the integration of private international law offers a healthy, if modest, alternative to the sometimes reflexive nationalism pervading scholarship in this area that, in its most extreme form, has suggested that federalism is "largely irrelevant to the conduct of foreign affairs."