Last week, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario made his opening statement before the tribunal overseeing Manila’s arbitration against China. (As regular readers will remember, the Philippines has brought its case under the auspices of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Significantly, Secretary del Rosario added some public detail about the nature and scope of the Philippines’s formal claims about China’s behavior in the South China Sea. Two points jumped out at me about the speech.
Sean Mirski graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as Supreme Court Chair for the Harvard Law Review and was part of the school's winning Ames moot court team. While at law school, he interned in the International Affairs division of the Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, as well as the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State (in the Office of East Asia and Pacific Affairs and the Office of Consular Affairs). Prior to law school, he was a Junior Fellow in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 2011 with an M.A. in International Relations and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics.
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As I explained in this legal primer, the South China Sea dispute has primarily revolved around two distinct legal quarrels: a dispute over territory and a dispute over the substance and application of maritime law.
Over at The National Interest, I’ve written an article parsing this distinction and what it means for the American approach to the South China Sea. I argue that
Zivotofsky was expected to make a valuable contribution in the form of its analysis of the scope of exclusive executive power. But the Court failed to set forth a compelling or clear method of deciding exclusivity, and instead, it chose to rely on a variety of indeterminate sources. This approach is troubling for many reasons, not least because it opens the door to problematic “functional” analyses of the type exemplified by Zivotofsky itself.
The South China Sea dispute is governed by a number of different bodies of international law. At its core, though, there are two primary legal quarrels: the dispute over territory and the dispute over the substance and application of maritime law.
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court engaged deeply in Zivotofsky v. Kerry with significant questions implicating foreign relations law and the separation of powers, and—perhaps surprisingly—provided some illuminating answers. Lawfare has drafted a summary of the Court's 93-page opinion.
In the last few months, the South China Sea dispute has dominated the headlines. But in order to understand the crises of the day, one must first understand the history underlying the long-simmering conflict — whether it's from ancient sovereigns to wayward oil rigs, or from diplomatic dogfights to bloody skirmishes.
The South China Sea ranks high on any list of the world’s geopolitical hotspots. But though the region has been volatile for centuries, the last two decades have witnessed a subtle shift in the underlying drivers of conflict.
Over at The National Interest, I've written an article examining a significant change in the contours of the dispute. I argue that