Introduction to A Critical Juncture: Human Rights & U.S. Standing in the World Under the Obama Administration, Issue 20:1

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Introduction to A Critical Juncture: Human Rights & U.S.
Standing in the World Under the Obama Administration,
Issue 20:1
In March 2010, Transnational Law an d Contemporary Problems
(“TLCP”) hosted a symposium entitled A Critical Juncture: Human Rights &
U.S. Standing in the World Under the Obama Administration. This first issue
of Volume 20 of TLCP continues our exploration of the topic.
Our issue leads off with Brian Farrell’s Article, Access to Habeas Corpus:
A Human Rights Analysis of U.S. Practices in the War on Terrorism, which
explores how the Bush and Obama Administrations have resisted the
extension of habeas corpus to terrorism detainees. Exploring both the
international and U.S. history of habe as corpus, Farrell explains how habeas
corpus applies, or should apply, and explores why the Administrations
declined to extend it, which, Farrell argues, is in contravention of the
International Covenant on Civil and Pol itical Rights and the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In the context of these
instruments, Farrell examines the parame ters of the right to habeas corpus
and ultimately recommends their use as a framewo rk for domestic
enforcement of right.
In The Obama Administration and Obligations Under the Convention
Against Torture, U.N. Special Rappoteur Manfred Nowak discusses th e
United Statesinternational obligations regarding to rture. In his examination
of the “War on Terror,” Nowak explores the dangerous precedent that the
Bush Administration created by conducting torture and through rendition to
countries with the clear understanding of the same. Nowak laments that
although the Obama Administration pro mised a change in policy, it has yet
to follow through on such promises. Instead, the United States continues to
fail in its clear obligations under the U.N . Convention Against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This Article
discusses those specific obligation s, their significance, and the ways in which
the United States has addressed them.
In Realists Against the Nation-State, William Sch euerman examines the
legal and political theory behind Preside nt Obama’s apparent intellectual
affinity with Realist political theor ist Reinhold Niebuhr. This intellectual
pairing appears to be a contradiction in terms at first blush, as Secretaries of
State Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger are both se lf-proclaimed realists
who decry the state of international anarchy , arguing that self-interested
nation-states are the best arbiters of international chaos. Scheuerman refutes
this misperception of Realist legal theory by returning to the early works of
the founders of modern realism such as Niehbur, E.H. Carr, and Hans
Morgenthau. Scheuerman illustrates that the founding fathers of Realism
were critical of self-interested nation-states, sympathetic to conte mporary
international law, and increasingly certain that a more ambitious glo bal

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