The assessment of facts to determine if peacetime law or the law of armed conflict is the correct choice involves the same analysis used in resolving other choice of law questions. Lawyers and judges constantly make choice of law decisions. Choice of law is part of the consideration of every legal matter. … In the terrorism-related cases discussed [here], international law … determines the choice of law. In these cases, choice of international law sends us, generally, to the domestic criminal law of the United States, Pakistan, Yemen, and other states. It does not send us to the law of armed conflict.
The practical consequence of the Constitutional Court’s balancing approach to maintain both security and liberty has been a shifting jurisprudence, a fact that is bound to buoy and bother American conservatives and progressives in equal measure. There is something in the Court’s cases for both camps. Before 9/11, the Court deferred to the legislature’s attempts at promoting security. This inclination, however, changed dramatically in the post-9/11 period. In a string of cases the Court has consistently invalidated national security legislation for failing to adequately take account of constitutionally protected liberty interests.
China’s legal approach to national security threats, and emergency situations in general, is more complex and subtle and thus richer in implications for comparative law and for understanding transnational legal influence. … Given China’s sheer scale and international importance, its legal reaction to any major issue is a substantial part of the worldwide response. China’s discussion, adoption, and use of legal means to address identified dangers – especially terrorism – have invoked concerns familiar from post-9/11 developments elsewhere and have engaged international legal norms, including ones that emerged in the wake of 9/11 and others that predated and survived it. The Chinese example thus does, or at least should, matter.