Home » Articles » The Un-Exceptionalism of U.S. Exceptionalism

The Un-Exceptionalism of U.S. Exceptionalism

PDF · Sabrina Safrin · Jul-20-2012 · 41 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 1307 (2008)

This Article challenges the prevailing view that the United States acts exceptionally by examining the insufficiently considered legal exceptionalism of other countries. It puts U.S. exceptionalism in perspective by identifying European exceptionalism as well as noting developing country exceptionalism, pointing to the exceptional rules sought by the European Union and by developing countries in numerous international agreements and institutions.  It argues that most nations seek different international rules for themselves when they perceive themselves to have an exceptional need.  Indeed, in cases of exceptional need, numerous countries believe themselves entitled to exceptional legal accommodation and may even perceive other countries’ unwillingness to accommodate their needs as unfair.  Requests for special treatment even exhibit a pattern.

This Article concludes by suggesting that the present emphasis on U.S. legal exceptionalism is overstated at best, misguided and even dangerous at worst.  Furthermore, having shown that most nations seek exceptional legal accommodation, or double standards, in certain situations, it identifies some parameters for future work on the proper place for exceptionalism in international law.




Leave a Reply

ExpressO Top 10 Law Review

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We are pleased to announce the 2013-2014 VJTL New Members

Coming up:

The Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law hosted a symposium called “The Role of Non-State Actors in International Law” at Vanderbilt University Law School in February 2013.

The October issue of the Journal will showcase articles by distinguished symposium guests including:

  • Mr. Ian Smillie, “Blood Diamonds and Non-State Actors”
  • Professor Jean d’Aspremont, “Cognitive Conflicts and the Making of International Law from Empirical Concord to Conceptual Discord in Legal Scholarship”
  • Professor Peter J. Spiro, “Constraining Global Corporate Power: A Very Short Introduction”
  • Professor Suzanne Katzenstein
  • Professor Peter Margulies
  • Professor Harlan G. Cohen

 

Explore Other Vanderbilt Law Resources