Letters Blogatory

The Blog of International Judicial Assistance | By Ted Folkman of Folkman LLC

Tenth Anniversary Post: Chuck Kotuby on the Future of IJA

Posted on January 8, 2021

I am thrilled that my good friend Ted Folkman has asked me to write this short celebratory post for the Tenth Anniversary of Letters Blogatory. To mark the passing of a productive decade, Ted asked to provide my thoughts on “where you think the law of international judicial assistance will be ten years from now.” I am always reluctant to play the role of a clairvoyant seer, especially for a topic as multidirectional as international judicial assistance, but I will offer some thoughts on one aspect of this subject that could offer hope and direction as we enter a new decade.

By any measure, the topics that form the broad subject of international judicial assistance are junctures of multilateral engagement. They define when and how courts of one country will acknowledge the executive acts of another (e.g. service of process), the judicial acts of another (e.g. the recognition of foreign judgments), and when they will lend assistance in the taking of evidence or request the same from another court. While sovereigns interact daily at the executive level, these are the instances when at least nominally independent domestic judiciaries interact as global players. While this is important in its own right (so that civil and commercial disputes can be efficiently resolved across national borders), there is another consequence of this interaction: it is where judiciaries judge judiciaries, decide on the propriety of their acts, and in the process elevate vital normative standards to announce what precisely qualifies as “justice, very simple, very fundamental, and of such general acceptance by all civilized countries as to form a part of the international law of the world.” (E. Borchard, 1939)

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No Free Pass

Posted on January 7, 2021

We cannot give a free pass to any of Trump’s enablers, even once the new administration takes office. I have already written that the insurrectionary mob that stormed the Capitol should be prosecuted. Here is a rough taxonomy of Republicans in Congress, with some thoughts on each. First, the Senate:

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Officers with guns drawn in the House of Representatives
Credit: AP

American Carnage

Posted on January 6, 2021

Like a lot of other people, I knew from before 2016 that Donald Trump would be a moral and political catastrophe for the country. Read the posts (more than fifty of them, going back to late 2015). But despite four years of this, it is still shocking, horrifying, and humiliating to see an armed, seditious insurrection take over the Capitol—and even more shocking, horrifying, and humiliating to know that the head insurrectionist is the country’s chief law enforcement officer. If it were not for the professionalism, patriotism, and commitment to the law of the nation’s military officers, I have no doubt that we would be living through a true coup d’état today and not just thousands of alienated and ignorant minuteman cosplayers who believe everything Trump and his craven enablers in Congress, the Republican Party, and the right-wing media have been telling them for years.

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