Home » Notes » Forgive Me, Founding Fathers for I Have Sinned: A Reconciliation of Foreign Affairs Preemption After Medellin v. Texas

Forgive Me, Founding Fathers for I Have Sinned: A Reconciliation of Foreign Affairs Preemption After Medellin v. Texas

PDF · Carolyn A. Pytynia · Jul-5-2012 · 43 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 1413 (2010)

The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government the authority to make the law of the land and, in turn, preempt state law that is incompatible with the federal government’s legislative and treaty making efforts.  In addition, other provisions of the Constitution authorize the federal government to participate in matters of foreign affairs, and the Supreme Court has found this authority to be exclusive to the federal government in a number of cases.  However, the Constitution is silent on the issue of when federal preemption of state law is appropriate when states seek to legislate in matters of foreign affairs.  In American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi, the Supreme Court found that California’s Holocaust Victim Insurance Relief Act of 1999 violated the foreign affairs power of the national government.  The Court’s reasoning rested on the premise that the executive power includes the power to conduct foreign affairs on behalf of the nation.  Ultimately, the Court employed a two-prong test that justified preemption: whether an express federal policy was in place at the time the state law was enacted and whether the conflict between the two laws was sufficient to permit preemption of the state law.  In 2008, in Medellin v. Texas, the Court did not allow for preemption despite the factual similarities to the Garamendi case.  These two cases demonstrate the complications surrounding federal preemption of state law in matters of foreign affairs, specifically in areas in which the federal government has yet to act.  This Note seeks to rectify foreign affairs preemption cases and argues for a policy-based approach grounded in a factor analysis.




Leave a Reply

ExpressO Top 10 Law Review

ANNOUNCEMENTS

May 2018 Issue on the Second Israel Defense Forces International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict. Read more about the Journal’s May 2018 issue here.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Journal’s 50th Anniversary celebration on October 5, 2017! View photos from the event here and read about the Journal’s history here.

Connect with the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law on LinkedIn.

The Journal is pleased to listed as the #5 International Law Journal by the 2017 Washington and Lee Law Journal Rankings.

The Journal is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Board of Editors: here

The Journal is very excited about the success of our February 2017 Symposium, “Sovereign Conduct on the Margins of the Law.” Read more about our February 2017 Symposium here

Please join us in congratulating the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 2017-2018 Write-On Competition Winners.

Video is available from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law’s 2015-2016 SymposiumThis is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters. Watch here.

Explore Other Vanderbilt Law Resources