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The Lawfare Podcast: Constitutional Law, International Law, and the State

Jack Goldsmith, Daryl Levinson, Jen Patja
Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 8:00 AM
Discussing the interplay between international law and constitutional law

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

Many international law scholars are skeptical about the efficacy of international law to shape state behavior—and even international law's reality as law—because it lacks a centralized hierarchical legislature, executive branch, or judiciary. In his new book, “Law for Leviathan: Constitutional Law, International Law, and the State,” Daryl Levinson of NYU Law School challenges this conception of international law by arguing that it is structurally similar to domestic constitutional law in its ability to constrain states and in its strategies for doing so. 

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Levinson to discuss the challenge of regulating the state through both international law and constitutional law and what constitutional law theory can learn from international relations theory about how this happens. They also discussed how IR balance of power theory is like Madison's conception of constitutionalism, the implications for his theory for understanding how to hold states accountable for illegal action, and how to think about these ideas in light of the ostensible waning of state power in the modern era.


Jack Goldsmith is the Learned Hand Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003.
Daryl Levinson is a professor at NYU School of Law.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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