Jack L. Goldsmith & Curtis Bradley, The Abiding Relevance of Federalism to U.S. Foreign Relations, 92 Am. J. Int'l L. 675 (1998).
Abstract: The international law community has heavily criticized the United States’ handling of the Breard case. These criticisms are understandable. Perhaps because of the rush of time, the explanations by the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court for failing to stop Breard’s execution brushed over important issues of domestic and international law. In addition, Virginia’s decision to proceed with the execution, and the federal Government’s decision not to block it, may have reflected insufficient respect for international law and institutions. These decisions may also adversely affect U.S. relations with other nations and weaken consular protection of U.S. citizens abroad. These criticisms, however, tell only part of the story. In particular, they do not consider countervailing considerations grounded in the Constitution’s allocation of authority between the federal and state governments.