Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Garcia-Mir v. Meese case brief

Garcia-Mir v. Meese, 788 F.2d 1446 (11th Cir. 1986) 
  • Cuban refugees were accorded special immigration status, and had been detained in the Atlanta Penitentiary for a long time
  • The Cuban refugees claim that customary international law was violated by their prolonged arbitrary detention
  • Here, there was a relevant act of Congress, saying that the refugees could be detained
  • The court found that the rule of Congress trumped the rule of customary international law, in regard to the first group of detainees
  • As to the second group of detainees, the court found that an executive act by the Attorney General also trumps customary international law
    • Legally, how is this possible?
      • Either the congressional acts generally trump customary international law, or the  congressional acts were later-in-time – it is not clear
        • The later-in-time interpretation is not as likely to have been the intended interpretation of the court in this case.
  • The United States would still be in breach of customary international law, despite the fact that the law could not be enforced domestically
  • Two quotes:
    • “The public law of nations was long ago incorporated into the common law of the United States.” Paquete Habana
    • “To the extent possible, courts must construe American law so as to avoid violating principles of customary international law.” Charming Betsy Cannon

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