International Environmental Law in United States Courts

Review of European Community & International Environmental Law [RECIEL], Vol 7, No. 1 (1998), pp. 57-62


De Tocqueville once observed that 'scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question'. While, in general, De Tocqueville's comment has proved remarkably prescient, it has not held true of international environmental law. In contrast to international human rights law, where US courts have played a significant role, few cases have been brought in US courts involving international environmental law. Instead, international environmental issues have been addressed politically, through executive and legislative action. This article surveys the relatively negligible case-law to date and identifies some of the reasons why more cases have not been brought.