Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Asakura v. City of Seattle case brief

Asakura v. City of Seattle, 265 US 332 (1924).
  • Plaintiff alleges that a Seattle ordinance regulating the business of pawnbroker violates a treaty
  • plaintiff directly invokes a treaty provision (“…thou shalt not discriminate between the citizens of these two countries…”)in this case, which is before a US court; he can only do this if the treaty is self-executing
  • how to determine whether the treaty is self-executing:
    • look to the language to see if it says
    • if the language is unclear, then look to the intent of the parties: look to the Senate (domestic legislation), presidential statements concerning the treaty
  • The court implicitly ruled that the treaty was self-executing by finding that the local ordinance that violated the treaty was invalid
    • Language indicating that the treaty is self-executing: “It operates of itself without the aid of any legislation…and it will be applied and given authoritative effect by the courts….”

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