Ryan Scoville

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Ryan Scoville is a Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School.

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International Law

International Law from a Cuban Perspective

Recently I returned from a trip to Cuba, where I had the opportunity to interview Celeste Pino Canales, a highly regarded professor of public international law at the University of Havana. I pursued the interview for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to get a sense for what it’s like to be an international law professor in Cuba. Second, given renewed interest in the field of comparative international law, I wanted to investigate whether there might be distinctive Cuban perspectives on topics such as treaty law and custom.

International Law

How Do American Courts (and Scholars) Ascertain Customary International Law?

In U.S. federal courts, questions about the existence and contours of customary international law (CIL) arise in a variety of cases, both civil and criminal. These have generated a number of interesting debates, including, most prominently, one about the status of CIL in the United States: some contend that custom is self-executing federal common law, while others argue that it’s part of federal law only where Congress has chosen to codify it in a statute, or only where necessary to implement the separation of powers.

Executive Power

Legislative Diplomacy After Zivotofsky

Zivotofsky was a case about the recognition power, but it was also the first in quite a while to offer any insight into the Justices’ views on the nature of the President’s power to communicate with foreign sovereigns. Given precedents like Curtiss-Wright, which famously quoted John Marshall for the proposition that the President is the “‘sole organ of the nation in its external relations,’” commentators have long assumed that diplomatic communication is an exclusively executive domain.