In this brief Essay, then, I wish to engage in a thought experiment by looking at both federalism and international law through a pluralist rather than a sovereigntist lens. First, I summarize the pluralist literature and some of its core insights and suggest that scholars interested in international law (and its relationship with domestic law) would do well to consider this literature. Second, I provide a few examples of jurisdictional redundancy operating in the transnational, international, and federalist realm and show how the existence of multiple fora can both empower voices that might otherwise be silenced and effect changes of legal consciousness over time. Finally, I turn to a recent controversy concerning the relationship between federalism and international law, Medellin v. Texas,' 8 in which the United States Supreme Court intervened in a dispute among the International Court of Justice, the Bush administration, and the State of Texas regarding the appropriate role of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations' in a state capital murder case. Although the Supreme Court majority emphasized the need to delineate clear, non-overlapping spheres of international, national, and state authority, I draw on the insights of legal pluralism to proffer a more flexible approach to the interaction of multiple sources of law implicated by the case.
Paul Schiff Berman,
Federalism and International Law through the Lens of Legal Pluralism,
73 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol73/iss4/11