June 21, 2005 6:46 AM   Subscribe

When the United States gets involved in litigation before the International Court of Justice, who makes all of the relevant litigation decisions?

I assume that in the end the president retains ultimate authority to call the shots here (is that right?), both about whether to participate and how to. But surely he doesn't make every decision himself-- Is there a "solicitor general" for international litigation? Is there a sub-cabinet department devoted to this, or is it just part of somebody else's official duties? Is this done by the state department or the justice department? Or is it all ad hoc?
posted by willbaude to Law & Government (3 answers total)
Good Wiki article here.
posted by caddis at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2005

Best answer: The last case before the International Court of Justice involving the United States of America was Avena and other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America). USA was represented by William H. Taft, IV who was referred to as "Agent of the United States of America" in court documents. At the time William H. Taft, IV was Legal Adviser to the Department of State. The U.S. Executive branch is responsible for foreign policy, so you are correct, ultimately the President has final say in U.S. litigation strategy before International Court of Justice.
posted by RichardP at 11:03 AM on June 21, 2005

The President is responsible, and will obviously be kept in the loop, but the actual decisions (much the way a client "instructs" a lawyer, when it's usually the reverse) will be made by the Justice Department.
posted by dreamsign at 5:46 AM on June 22, 2005

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