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Mershon Center Citizenship Speaker Series
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Lori Fisler Damrosch
War, Constitutionalism, and International Law: A (Selective) Comparative Study
Monday, February 12, 2018, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
The Moritz College of Law
Drinko Hall - Room 250 (second floor)
55 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Lori Fisler Damrosch

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Lori Fisler Damrosch is the Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy at Columbia Law School. Damrosch’s principal areas of interest are public international law and the U.S. law of foreign relations.

Prior to joining the Law School, Damrosch served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State with responsibilities including European and Canadian affairs, international antitrust, aviation, and trade. In 1980, Damrosch served as special assistant to the legal adviser. From 1981 to 1984, Damrosch was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. In 1984, Damrosch joined the Law School’s faculty.

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Department of State Advisory Committee on International Law, as well as numerous international law and human rights organizations. Since 2009, Damrosch has been an associate member of Institut de droit international. From 1990 to 2013, Damrosch served as a member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law, later serving as co-editor-in-chief from 2003 to 2013.

Damrosch was an organizer of a U.S.-Soviet (later U.S.-Russian) research project on international law for the American Society of International Law (A.S.I.L.). From 1996 to 1998, Damrosch served as vice president of the American Society of International Law, followed by her term as counselor of the American Society of International Law from 2001 to 2005, and president-elect of the American Society of International Law since 2013, leading to Damrosch’s presidential term from 2014 to 2016.


Damrosch will present an installment of her research at the intersection of the international law and comparative constitutional law governing use of military force. Taking the multinational coalition against Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) as a current illustration, and drawing on comparative methods, she will discuss the national constitutional processes by which democratic states decide to participate (or not) in international military operations.

The larger narrative – to be traced from the beginning of the 1990s with the first Iraq war, to the responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, through the 2003 Iraq war and now the operations against Daesh in Iraq and Syria since 2014 – investigates broad trends among democratic states toward: (1) greater parliamentary involvement in decisions to commit armed forces to international engagement; (2) clearer embodiment in national constitutional systems of requirements for parliamentary consultation and approval in a timely manner; (3) more attention to international law in national decisions to use military force; and (4) more instances of parliaments and courts serving as checks on executive war-making. Her overall research on these themes tracks some 20 well-established democracies, only a few of which can be addressed here. Comparative insights can help evaluate why these trends are so clearly emerging and some of their problematic dimensions.


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