Saving Sovereignty
From the April 2, 2012, issue of NR

Taming Globalization: International Law, the U.S. Constitution, and the New World Order, by John Yoo and Julian Ku


One of the great strengths of this book is that the authors dig into the weeds of prominent Supreme Court cases to deftly rebut transnationalist claims. For example, in the famous (at least among international lawyers) Paquete Habana case of 1900, the court declared that “international law is part of our law” — a phrase repeated ad nauseam by transnational progressives. But the authors make it clear that even Paquete Habana affirmed that the ultimate interpretation of international law resided primarily with Congress and the president, not the federal courts.

Senator Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) highly recommended this book in a recent speech, and I think it will prove invaluable for those directly involved in conflicts over American sovereignty: members of Congress, their staffs, State and Defense Department officials, and big-think gurus on the presidential national-security teams.

The authors’ views represent minority opinion in the close-knit international-law community. If the book’s arguments are heard only in law schools, the transnationalists win. Instead, these arguments should be the subject of broad public debate — digested, internalized, and, most of all, operationalized, by elected officials and future political appointees. The sovereignty issue is ultimately not legal and technical, but political and democratic. International law is too important to be left to international lawyers.

— Mr. Fonte, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is the author of Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others? This article appears in the April 2, 2012, issue of National Review.