Friday, September 18, 2009

Raustiala, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? The Evolution of Territoriality in American Law

Territoriality has been a topic of study in legal history in recent years, for example in the work of Christina Duffy Burnett. An important new work by Kal Raustiala, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? The Evolution of Territoriality in American Law, has been published by Oxford University Press. At a readable 247 pages of text, the book is a great fit for U.S. legal or constitutional history courses. For those seeking to expand the boundaries of their teaching or writing in U.S. constitutional history, this new book is a good place to start.
Book info follows, and then Raustiala will discuss the book in a subsequent post.

Here's the book description:

The Bush Administration has notoriously argued that detainees at Guantanamo do not enjoy constitutional rights because they are held outside American borders. But where do rules about territorial legal limits such as this one come from? Why does geography make a difference for what legal rules apply? Most people intuitively understand that location affects constitutional rights, but the legal and political basis for territorial jurisdiction is poorly understood. In this novel and accessible treatment of territoriality in American law and foreign policy, Kal Raustiala begins by tracing the history of the subject from its origins in post-revolutionary America to the Indian wars and overseas imperialism of the 19th century. He then takes the reader through the Cold War and the globalization era before closing with a powerful explanation of America's attempt to increase its extraterritorial power in the post-9/11 world. As American power has grown, our understanding of extraterritorial legal rights has expanded too, and Raustiala illuminates why America's assumptions about sovereignty and territory have changed. Throughout, he focuses on how the legal limits of territorial sovereignty have diminished to accommodate the expanding American empire, and addresses how such limits ought to look in the wake of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror. A timely and engaging narrative, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? will change how we think about American territory, American law, and-ultimately-the changing nature of American power.
And the blurbs:
"Kal Raustiala's 'Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?' turns some of the crucial debates of the Bush years into a guide to a new era in law and foreign policy. He examines the old fashioned notions of borders and boundaries in the context of a changed and changing world, and asks all the right questions about what they will mean in the future."--Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine

"As Kal Raustiala shows in his marvelous new book, Elihu Root was correct a century ago when he quipped that 'the Constitution indeed follows the flag, but it doesn't quite catch up.' Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? shows in fascinating detail how politics and law interact in shaping legal constraints on the conduct of American foreign policy."--Robert O. Keohane, Professor of International Affairs, Princeton University

"This book ties together many different historical strands of our extraterritorial Constitution in a compelling, remarkably accessible, and genuinely illuminating narrative."--Jack Goldsmith, author of The Terror Presidency

"As an act both of dispassionate scholarship and passionate citizenship, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? compels attention. Its rich account of the outsized reach of American law is informed by a deep understanding of history, jurisprudence, and global affairs. Illuminating and incisive, the book's riveting account of territoriality and law in American political development could not be more timely."--Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White

"Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? is a brilliant, wide-ranging and timely book. In a world where supra-national forces, from global markets and mass migration, to international terrorist organizations, present an ever-increasingly challenge to the limits of the law, it shows just what territorial sovereignty is, and why it matters. It is also a highly compelling work of intellectual and political history."--Anthony Pagden, author of Worlds at War
Raustiala discusses the book here. The book is blogged about on Opinio Juris.

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