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Foreign Affairs and the United States Constitution Paperback – January 2, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0198260981 ISBN-10: 0198260989 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 582 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (January 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198260989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198260981
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Henkin comes as close to providing understanding as an honest expert can."--The New York Times Book Review

"Henkin's book is extremely important for our time."--Choice

"In lucidity, comprehensiveness, thoroughness, it offers rich resources to us all."--American Political Science Review

"A wise and graceful book."--Harvard Law Review

"First rate scholarship and first rate writing....I applaud Henkin's masterful work. One of the great values of the book is that it speaks not just to the present, but to future generations, Henkin's articulate elaboration of where we are as we approach the twenty-first century, and his suggestions as to where we can improve, make this book a great contribution to the discussion of foreign affairs and the Constitution for ages to come."--American Journal of International Law

"...a careful and measured analysis of the constitutional law of foreign affairs."--Columbia Journal of Transnational Law

"Elegant, graceful, and lucid, the book sets a standard for legal scholarship that is almost unmatched by current writers"--Michigan Law Review

About the Author

Louis Henkin is University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. It's amazing that so much important information can be packed into such a short space.
That said, however, the book does has a couple of shortcomings, a couple of which I will be happy to point out. First, professor Henkin doesn't adequately account for trends in Supreme Court jurisprudence that will have the effect of seriously curtailing the application of international organizations and covenants to the United States. Professor Henkin states that "federalism...rarely raises its head in foreign affairs." Wrong! This is professor Henkin's most serious analytical error. Federalism has been reinvigorated in the past few years, and there's no end in sight to its resurgence. From New York v. US, to Lopez, to Printz, to Seminole Tribe the Supreme Court has determined that the tenth and eleventh amendments are not to be rolled over on a federal whim. The recent case of that Paraguayan butcher and attempted rapist, Angel Breard, is a case in point. The Supreme Court denied his claim, AND that of the Paraguayan consular officials who claimed a violation of the Vienna Convention. Why did the Supreme Court turn down the appeals? Because of the eleventh Amendment, of course. The Supreme Court has strengthened the eleventh Amendment in Seminole Tribe and Coeur D'Alene to the extent that certain treaties are no longer enforceable (except for continuing violations that fall within the Ex Parte Young doctrine) within our federal structure. This is a HUGE development, and it cannot be ignored, especially when the trend is toward more and more intrusion into what are typically thought of as state functions.
Second, one gets the feeling that professor Henkin's analytical mode is being directed by what he considers higher values. A small example: on p.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by Vladimir Matveyev in International Relations, Volume XIII, No 6, December 1997,
Nearly 25 years have passed since the publication of the first edition of this book. It has become almost a classic text. This is a much-anticipated new edition, reconceived, reorganized and updated by the author. Professor Henkin has added to his comprehensive list of judicial decisions and opinions explaining and interpreting the US Constitution in the field of foreign affairs. The newest and most important ones encompass confusion in the US foreign policy machinery in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and in the last decades of the Cold War. His references for the legal documents, on which the analysis is largely based, are unparalleled and crucial for understanding the issues unravelled by the author.
As Professor Henkin notes, `where foreign relations are concerned the Constitution seems a strange, laconic document'. There are a few lines conferring a limited number of functions upon either the President or the Congress, or directing them to act jointly. From this it might seem that the well-publicized and extensive foreign policy prerogatives of the US President are extra-constitutional, or even unconstitutional. This is not the case. As Louis Henkin not infrequently remarks, the Constitution is what the Supreme Court and federal courts say it is. Moreover, there are substantial arguments in favour of the constitutional nature of presidential power. These are scrupulously analysed by the author in a special chapter dealing with the President's power as well as in another chapter devoted to the allocation of foreign affairs powers in different branches of the federal government. Some arguments have their roots in history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ruel J. Eskelsen on April 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This updated version of Henkin's invaluable text is incredibley timely in the context of the Iraq War and the power jockying between the U.S. Congress and the President over war powers.

It provides important discussions of U.S. foreign policy and military activity up through the Clinton years, with detailed footnotes for anyone interested in pursuing the subject in the original materials.
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