Syria and the Humanitarian Reprisal – President Trump’s Poisonous Gift to International Law?

Among the many unwanted gifts Donald Trump has given international law as of yet, this may very well prove to be the worst: the humanitarian reprisal. Forcible countermeasures, so-called reprisals, were standard practice in order to enforce violations of international obligations at least until World War I and continued to be used and accepted even in the inter-war period. Not infrequently, they led to wider military conflicts. Thus, under the post-1945 international legal order established by the UN Charter, reprisals do not constitute licit countermeasures and in fact are covered by the prohibition of the use of force in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

Continue Reading →

Rückzug aus dem Atomabkommen: Drohen die USA mit einem Völkerrechtsbruch?

Seit Januar hält US-Präsident Trump die übrigen Mitglieder des Iran-Atomabkommens mit seinem Ultimatum in Atem: Wenn man nicht bis Mai die „desaströsen Fehler“ des Abkommens korrigiere, verabschiedeten sich die USA davon. Aber lässt das Völkerrecht einen Austritt überhaupt zu?

Continue Reading →

Hat das Völkerrecht die (Atom-)Waffen gestreckt? Nordkorea und ein potentieller Militärschlag der USA

Der Konflikt um das nordkoreanische Atomprogramm spitzt sich immer weiter zu. Noch bietet das klassische Völkerrecht keine Möglichkeit für die Rechtfertigung eines Militärschlages, beispielsweise durch die USA. Doch die Staatenpraxis zu nuklearen Bedrohungslagen ist in Bewegung.

Continue Reading →

More Emolument Trouble For President Trump?

Emoluments is the word of the hour again in the United States. The past week saw the filing of two new lawsuits alleging that President Trump has violated one or more of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses by accepting payments and other benefits from foreign and domestic governments. What’s significant about the new suits is who the plaintiffs are. One is brought by the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C., the other by 196 members of Congress, all Democrats. Are these the plaintiffs who can get a court to rule, for the first time ever, on what “emolument” means as used in the Constitution?

Continue Reading →

Trump and the FBI: Four very quick questions and answers from SANFORD LEVINSON

US President Donald Trump, to the bewildered horror of many, has dismissed FBI director James Comey in the middle of an investigation about his aides' ties to Russia. Some even call this situation a constitutional crisis. We have shot Constitutional Law professor Sandy Levinson four very quick questions and received four equally short answers.

Continue Reading →

Schranken für die weltweite Überwachung? Was die jüngsten Ankündigungen der NSA zu bedeuten haben

Am gestrigen Nachmittag gab die NSA überraschend bekannt, eine zentrale Komponente ihres globalen Überwachungssystems zu beenden. In der Zukunft will die Behörde nur Emails speichern, die von oder an verdächtige Ausländer gesendet wurden („to or from communications“). Hingegen werden nicht mehr alle Internet-Nachrichten daraufhin gescannt, ob sie Daten verdächtiger Ausländer im Text der Nachricht nennen („about communications“). Weniger Überwachung klingt gut. Und die ersten Reaktionen in den USA sind verhalten positiv, wird damit doch einer zentralen Forderung von BürgerrechtlerInnen entsprochen. Doch was bedeutet der Kurswechsel aus europäischer und deutscher Sicht?

Continue Reading →

Trapped in the Age of Trump: the American Supreme Court and 21st Century Populism Or

The American Supreme Court is currently ill-equipped to confront populism. The Court’s deficiency is not because of the political balance between justices nominated by Republican Presidents and those nominated by Democrat Presidents. It is a result of a deeper shift in the way the concept of judicial legitimacy is currently understood in the US. In […]

Continue Reading →

"A Roguish and Unpopular President is potentially an Occasion for the Judiciary to Shine"

Will Democrats be able to block Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation as Supreme Court Justice, and how will it affect the Court if they won’t? Mattias Kumm on the latest developments in the nomination process and the judiciary’s role in holding the Trump administration in check.

Continue Reading →