Ryan M. Scoville, Finding Customary International Law, 101 Iowa L. Rev. 1893 (2016)
101 Iowa Law Review 1893 (2016)
Established doctrine holds that customary international law (“CIL”) arises from general and consistent state practice that is backed by a sense of legal obligation. Contemporary litigation requires federal courts to apply this doctrine to identify the contours of CIL in a diverse collection of cases ranging from civil actions under the Alien Tort Statute to criminal prosecutions under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act. This Article provides an in-depth look at how federal judges carry out this task. Conducting a citation analysis of opinions published since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, this Article analyzes the form, quality, and geographical origins of the authorities that tend to serve as evidence of custom; explores the implications of recent citation patterns; and offers ideas to help courts grapple more effectively with the challenge of finding custom.
Scoville, Ryan M., "Finding Customary International Law" (2016). Faculty Publications. Paper 677.