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The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights [Hardcover]

Karen Alter

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Book Description

Jan. 26 2014

In 1989, when the Cold War ended, there were six permanent international courts. Today there are more than two dozen that have collectively issued over thirty-seven thousand binding legal rulings. The New Terrain of International Law charts the developments and trends in the creation and role of international courts, and explains how the delegation of authority to international judicial institutions influences global and domestic politics.

The New Terrain of International Law presents an in-depth look at the scope and powers of international courts operating around the world. Focusing on dispute resolution, enforcement, administrative review, and constitutional review, Karen Alter argues that international courts alter politics by providing legal, symbolic, and leverage resources that shift the political balance in favor of domestic and international actors who prefer policies more consistent with international law objectives. International courts name violations of the law and perhaps specify remedies. Alter explains how this limited power--the power to speak the law--translates into political influence, and she considers eighteen case studies, showing how international courts change state behavior. The case studies, spanning issue areas and regions of the world, collectively elucidate the political factors that often intervene to limit whether or not international courts are invoked and whether international judges dare to demand significant changes in state practices.


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From the Inside Flap

"The New Terrain of International Law provides the most sophisticated account of how 'new style' international courts alter politics by reducing the monopoly power of governments to determine what the law requires. If you can read only one book on how international courts affect the politics of international law, this is the one to read."--Robert O. Keohane, Princeton University

"This book gives a definitive account of the growing significance of international courts in global affairs. While the European Court of Justice has been considered the gold standard of supranational courts, Alter demonstrates the breadth of supranational courts spread across the globe. Showing how litigation before international courts can be a powerful tool, her book holds central policy implications."--Thomas Risse, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

"International lawyers dislike having political scientists in their professional kitchen and political scientists often cannot conceal their disdain of 'naive' lawyers. Alter's carefully researched and insightful new book changes all that. There is no lawyer who will not become wiser from reading it, while many a political scientist will marvel at their failure to note a seismic change in the international order. Alter's voice is unique and indispensable."--J. H. H. Weiler, president of the European University Institute, Florence

"This book is a landmark in the history of the study of international courts and tribunals--a true game changer. Sustained by a very thorough empirical analysis, it challenges a lot of established but outdated notions of what international courts and tribunals are and what they do."--Cesare Romano, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and codirector of the Project on International Courts and Tribunals

"This comprehensive study places institutions at the center of the analysis and moves away from the debate about compliance that has dominated international law scholarship in recent years. Alter builds on her work on the Andean Court of Justice to examine a wide range of international tribunals, including several in the Global South, and to show the broad array of roles that these courts play. A nuanced analysis at the intersection of international law and politics."--Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School

"We now have almost forty-thousand judgments from more than two dozen international courts and this groundbreaking book is the first true social science effort to understand the rapid emergence of international courts and their role in global politics. Anyone even thinking about studying international courts in law, political science, or sociology will have to start here--this book sets the standard for years to come."--Erik Voeten, Georgetown University

From the Back Cover

"The New Terrain of International Law provides the most sophisticated account of how 'new style' international courts alter politics by reducing the monopoly power of governments to determine what the law requires. If you can read only one book on how international courts affect the politics of international law, this is the one to read."--Robert O. Keohane, Princeton University

"This book gives a definitive account of the growing significance of international courts in global affairs. While the European Court of Justice has been considered the gold standard of supranational courts, Alter demonstrates the breadth of supranational courts spread across the globe. Showing how litigation before international courts can be a powerful tool, her book holds central policy implications."--Thomas Risse, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

"International lawyers dislike having political scientists in their professional kitchen and political scientists often cannot conceal their disdain of 'naive' lawyers. Alter's carefully researched and insightful new book changes all that. There is no lawyer who will not become wiser from reading it, while many a political scientist will marvel at their failure to note a seismic change in the international order. Alter's voice is unique and indispensable."--J. H. H. Weiler, president of the European University Institute, Florence

"This book is a landmark in the history of the study of international courts and tribunals--a true game changer. Sustained by a very thorough empirical analysis, it challenges a lot of established but outdated notions of what international courts and tribunals are and what they do."--Cesare Romano, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and codirector of the Project on International Courts and Tribunals

"This comprehensive study places institutions at the center of the analysis and moves away from the debate about compliance that has dominated international law scholarship in recent years. Alter builds on her work on the Andean Court of Justice to examine a wide range of international tribunals, including several in the Global South, and to show the broad array of roles that these courts play. A nuanced analysis at the intersection of international law and politics."--Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School

"We now have almost forty-thousand judgments from more than two dozen international courts and this groundbreaking book is the first true social science effort to understand the rapid emergence of international courts and their role in global politics. Anyone even thinking about studying international courts in law, political science, or sociology will have to start here--this book sets the standard for years to come."--Erik Voeten, Georgetown University

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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