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Sovereign indignities: international law as public law

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Two analogies lie at the core of Professor Waldron's article. The first is the claim that the standard analogy by which the state in international law is like the individual in domestic law is misleading; the state in international law is more like a government agency in domestic law. The second is that international law is (or is like) a species of public law and should be treated as such by domestic legal systems. I examine both claims, arguing (a) that even if we accept the first analogy it does not get us to the deeper levels of respect and commitment to international law that Waldron argues for, and (b) that the ‘floating normativity’ inherent in the second claim leads Waldron to overlook the specific organizational and structural conditions of international law. This leaves Waldron's position weakest where it should have most to offer: namely, in instances where our commitment to international law on one hand and the rule of law on the other seem to pull in opposite directions.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/37170/

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