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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Professor William S. Dodge Submits Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court

Professor and Associate Dean for Research William S. Dodge is one of two amici on a “friend of the Court” brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in Bond v. United States.

Bond, who was convicted of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, has asked the Supreme Court to overturn its 1920 decision in Missouri v. Holland and hold that the Act exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority to implement a treaty under the Necessary and Proper Clause of Article I of the Constitution.

Anton Metlitsky and former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, filed the amicus brief on behalf of Dodge and Professor Sarah H. Cleveland of Columbia Law School. The brief argues that the Act is constitutional not just under the Necessary and Proper Clause but also as an exercise of Congress’ power to “define and punish … Offenses against the Law of Nations.” The brief is based on a draft article by Professors Cleveland and Dodge, Defining and Punishing Offenses Under Treaties.

“Scholars have assumed that the phrase ‘Law of Nations’ in the Offenses Clause means only customary international law,” said Dodge. “But in the eighteenth century, the law of nations included treaties—what the Founders called the ‘conventional law of nations’—and the history of the Offenses Clause supports that understanding.”

“Associate Dean for Research William S. Dodge exemplifies engaged scholarship,” said UC Hastings Chancellor & Dean Frank H. Wu. “His ideas are presented as arguments to the courts and they have influenced the actual decisions made by judges. This is what law professors do at their best.”

Dodge is an expert on the history of international law in the U.S. legal system and co-edited the award-winning book International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change (Cambridge University Press 2011). From 2011-12, he served as Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. He was recently named a Reporter for the Restatement (Fourth) of Foreign Relations Law.

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