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Working Paper

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This paper advances a theory of judicial treaty interpretation and enforcement in the American legal system. Today, the doctrine of self-execution dominates the study of judicial enforcement of treaties in U.S. courts. This paper, based on an extensive study of the record of treaty practice in U.S. courts, suggests a different analysis. Treaty enforcement has in practice varied on who judges are asked to enforce a treaty against - the party alleged to be in breach - whether States, the Executive, or Congress. This paper shows this pattern thorough the history of U.S. treaty practice.