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The Perils of Global Legalism

The arrival of the Obama administration has led to expectations, both in the U.S. and abroad, that America will increasingly support an adherence to international law position that many believe is both ethically necessary and in the nation's best interests. Detractors contend that such views demonstrate a dangerously naïve tendency toward legalism a belief that law can be effective even in the absence of legitimate institutions of governance. Professor Eric A. Posner shares his views on international law and the perils of an idealistic approach to international legal relations.

Eric A. Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He has published numerous articles on a range of legal topics including bankruptcy law, contract law, international law, cost-benefit analysis, and constitutional law, and has taught courses on international law, foreign relations law, contracts, employment law, bankruptcy law, secured transactions, and game theory and the law. His current research focuses on international law, immigration law, and foreign relations law. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts, The Limits of International Law, and his latest book, The Perils of Global Legalism. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from Yale University, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Generous support for the Chicago and the World Forum series each year is provided by the McCormick Foundation.


Recorded Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at The Chicago Club.

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