Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



As a punitive measure against the military regime in Burma, state and municipal governments in the United States have adopted laws penalizing firms that conduct business in that nation. This Article analyzes the validity of these statutes and ordinances under various provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

After introducing the nature of this development and the constitutional issues raised, Part II of this Article proceeds to examine the character of the local enactments and the political backdrop which lead to their adoption. In Part II, the Authors analyze four federal constitutional issues surrounding the local legislation: implied preemption by federal legislation, impermissible intrusion into federal jurisdiction under the Foreign Commerce Clause, impermissible usurpation of federal authority under the Supremacy Clause, and impermissible delegation of authority to private parties in violation of the the Due Process Clause. In Part IV, the Authors discuss the practical problems presented by parallel and inconsistent foreign policies. This Article concludes that while the local measures are constitutionally infirm, they are unlikely to be challenged by injured firms.