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Book Chapter

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This introductory chapter serves as a foreword for the volume. It sketches the history of past restatements and the evolution of the latest one. The first (confusingly called Second) Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States brought widespread attention to the term “foreign relations law.” It staunchly defended the proposition that foreign relations, no matter how imbued with discretion and prerogative, still must rest on law. The Third Restatement, prepared during a period of what to many seemed constitutional retrenchment and a loosening of judicial supervision over public life, offered a robust defense of the proposition that, “In conducting the foreign relations of the United States, Presidents, members of Congress, and public officials are not at large in a political process; they are under law.” Moreover, it insisted that the judiciary, as much as the executive and Congress, creates and enforces this law. To the extent that the Third Restatement rested its claims on its view of the state of customary international law, other influential actors pushed back. The Fourth Restatement revisits the Third’s claims, especially about the central role of the judiciary, in light of the evolution of both U.S. and international law and practice.


Comparative and Foreign Law | International Law | Law