The Mini-Conference on Delegation and Independence in Domestic and International Law and the Workshop on Law, Politics and Human Rights were created to open dialogue between researchers who study international human rights law and those who study domestic judicial politics.  The idea for these mini-conferences grew out of discussions between Will H. Moore and Jeffrey K. Staton about the growing literature on the impact and effectiveness of international institutions that govern human rights, especially with respect to their interaction with domestic institutions.  Those discussions led them to the view that the literatures on domestic judicial politics and international human rights law are wrestling with nearly identical theoretical puzzles, but proceeding seemingly unaware of the insights of the other.  The first of the mini-conferences will discuss this claim with the specific aim of exploring how scholars might advance their research agenda given a greater familiarity with work outside of their core subfield.  In particular, discussion will focus on two theoretical problems: First, why would a state delegate to a third party the power to monitor and punish its behavior?  And second, once a state so delegates, how can we account for the third party's develop of independent political influence?  The second mini-conference will give scholars the opportunity to present and receive feedback on research that addresses these questions.
Human rights scholarship tackles these questions in the context of international legal regimes while judicial scholars have done so within the context of the establishment of domestic judicial independence.  There are two broad theoretical matters around which the meetings will be framed.  First, scholars writing in both literatures tend to focus on only one of these questions at a time, yet one might contend that they are inextricably linked.  Does a satisfactory answer to the first question depend on the answer to the second?  Second, in what ways do the particular theoretical claims of human rights scholars depend on the theoretical claims of domestic judicial scholars and vice versa?  It seems reasonable that human rights arguments that invoke the strength of domestic institutions as key to inducing compliance are influenced by precisely the sort of theoretical problems judicial scholars typically investigate.  On the other side, to what extent do activists, lawyers, and NGOs activated by international treaties and enmeshed in international networks influence legal doctrine?  These mini-conferences have been convened to explore that issue.
Mini-Conference on Delegation and Independence
in Domestic and International Law
The Florida State University
8-9 February 2008
Emory University
19-21 March 2009
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Workshop on Law, Politics and Human Rights