In the mid-1950s, lawyers, judges, and legal scholars gathered in New York City to discuss ALI’s possible work on a project in the field of foreign relations law. Future project Reporter Adrian S. Fisher noted that, at the time of its introduction, this Restatement presented two issues nonexistent in previous Restatements. First, foreign relations law was more the concern of the government attorney, and less the concern of the private attorney, than any of the other fields covered by a Restatement. Second, in order for this work to be of lasting value, it needed to be persuasive to lawyers in other countries.
It was precisely these two hurdles that made ALI the right organization to assemble a study of utility in understanding foreign relations law. The Institute held a level of objectivity and detachment that no government group could possess, and inviting lawyers from other countries to serve as participants in the drafting of the Restatement assured that the Institute’s reputation of having a diversity of experience from the best legal minds remained intact. The result of this effort was the Restatement Second of U.S. Foreign Relations Law, published in 1965.
ALI entered this area of law without compromising the integrity and authority for which Restatements had been known. The Restatements Second and Third (1987) have been enormously influential. But the world continues to change and with it so does the rule of law.
A reexamination of this Restatement began in October 2012. When the Council approved the project, it decided not to launch a full revision of the Restatement Third at that time. Instead, it limited the scope of the project to three areas, with limitations:
Treaties but not other forms of international agreements;
U.S. views on Jurisdiction, but not generally on separation of powers or federalism; and
Sovereign Immunity, but not other immunities required or regulated by international law.
Now available for purchase, this volume of the Restatement of the Law Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States, completes the work on the aforementioned topics. Additional areas of the Restatement Third are likely to be addressed in future discrete projects within the Fourth Restatement.
The project was led by Coordinating Reporters Sarah H. Cleveland of Columbia Law School (also a Reporter on Treaties) and Paul B. Stephan of University of Virginia School of Law (also a Reporter on Jurisdiction), Jurisdiction Reporters William S. Dodge of University of California, Davis School of Law and Anthea Roberts of Australian National University; Sovereign Immunity Reporters David P. Stewart of Georgetown University Law Center and Ingrid Wuerth of Vanderbilt University Law School; and Treaties Reporters Curtis A. Bradley of Duke University School of Law and Edward T. Swaine of George Washington University Law School.
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