BYU Law Review Symposium

On January 30, 2015, BYU Law hosted the annual Law Review Symposium. Ed Swaine, professor of law at George Washington University, opened the lecture series by reporting on the progress and general makeup of the upcoming Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States.

Swaine discussed the current status of the Restatement, along with some updating challenges. Some topics he identified as particularly challenging were self-execution of treaties and treaty interpretation. Most surprising, however, was the fragmented approach to publishing the new Restatement. Rather than publishing an entire volume of work, topics will be released individually at first and perhaps compiled into “snapshots” as more are released.

This method of publication is especially challenging because of the interdependence of issues and topics. Swaine acknowledged the potential negative consequences of publishing independent articles, although he also noted that the overall outcome of the project is not yet resolved, and referred to the current state of the Restatement as a “proof of concept.”

The symposium continued throughout the day with lecturers from law professors from across the country. Professor David Sloss of Santa Clara Law School opened the first section, “Treaty Self Execution.” Sloss has published two books and multiple law review articles on applying international law in domestic courts and has years of experience helping to draft international treaties. Following Sloss, Carlos Vazquez, professor at Georgetown Law Center, addressed the same topic. From 2000 to 2003, Vazquez was the United States member of the Inter-American Judicial Committee. Professor Mike Ramsey, of the University of San Diego Law School, was the third speaker in this section. He practiced in the area of international business law and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court.

After breaking for lunch, the symposium continued with speakers addressing treaty interpretation. Those addressing the audience were Professor Jean Galbraith, of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Harlan Cohen, professor at the University of Georgia School of Law, and Professor Roger Alford, of Notre Dame Law School. Galbraith and Cohen are scholars of international law and have published multiple law review articles, while Alford served as a law clerk to Judge Richard Allison of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands. Alford was also a senior legal advisor to the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Activities in Switzerland.

The final section dealt with treaties and the distribution of power. The speakers in the third section were Eric Jensen and David Moore, both professors at BYU Law, and Professor Leila Sadat from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Jensen has years of experience in foreign courts and affairs and has published law review articles on international law. Moore clerked for Justice Samuel Alito in 2007 and has published multiple law review articles. Sadat is the Director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and the Special Adviser on the Crimes Against Humanity to the ICC Prosecutor.