Jeff Dunoff, LAPA Fellow and Temple Law School

Constitutional Conceits: The WTO Constitution and the Discipline of International Law.

Mon, 11/12/2007
4:30 - 6:00 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall
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Professor Dunoff writes: Is the WTO a 'constitutional' entity? Should it be? This paper explores the role of constitutional discourse in contemporary trade scholarship, and explains why constitutionalism's secret ambition – to defuse or resolve potentially destabilizing political conflicts – cannot be achieved. The paper also explores the larger social and political conditions that have given rise to the debate over constitutionalism at the WTO. It suggests that the turn to constitutional discourse may reflect a deep disciplinary anxiety that has been heightened by international events since September 11, 2001. Hence, we may understand constitutional discourse to be a defensive reaction of international lawyers who perceive that international law is under severe stress. This paper is part of a larger project that explores the use of constitutional discourse across various international regimes, including human rights, the WTO, the EU, and the UN.

Jeffrey L. Dunoff is Charles Klein Professor of Law & Government and Director, Institute for International Law & Public Policy at Temple University Beasley School of Law. His scholarship focuses on public international law, international regulatory regimes, and interdisciplinary approaches to international law. He is coauthor (with Steven Ratner and David Wippman) of a leading casebook, International Law: Actors, Norms, Process (Aspen), and his writings have appeared in the American Journal of International Law, European Journal of International Law, Journal of International Economic Law and other publications. He has a B.A. from Haverford College, a J.D. from NYU School of Law, and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as a Ford Foundation Fellow in Public International Law. In 2005, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law at Cambridge University. While at Princeton, he will work on a book entitled Ruling the World? Constitutionalism, International Law, and Global Governance, and continue his work on international economic law and international dispute settlement.

For more on Professor Dunoff, see his LAPA page.


Kristen E. Boon is Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. She has authored and co-authored articles on such topics as legislative reform in post-conflict zones, international criminal courts, and federalism and the challenges of aboriginal self-government. Prior to joining Seton Hall, she served as a clerk to Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie, and as a litigation associate with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York. She is a member of the bar of New York (2002) and the Law Society of Upper Canada (2003). She earned her LL.M. from Columbia, J.D. from New York University School of Law, M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, and B.A. with honors, in Political Science and History from McGill University. For more on Kristen E. Boon, see her page at Seton Hall Law School.