Chicago Journal of International Law

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This short Essay explains why deeply embedding international law (IL) directly into domestic legal orders is seen as a helpful democratic legal strategy to make international law more effective. It also describes the logistics of embedding international law into national legal systems. The goal is to then query whether and how authoritarian regimes dis-embed or work around this embedded IL. The analysis raises a fundamental question about how time is important for any conversation about embedded or entrenched international or authoritarian law. The embedded IL strategy is a long-game strategy, and as such it can ultimately outlive periods of authoritarian rule. Yet the longer authoritarian leaders are in office, the more time they have to displace the deep threads of embedded IL. The Essay also considers how authoritarian governments mimic and repurpose the embedded IL strategy, sometimes using this strategy to lock in policies that reflect their particularistic understandings of IL.

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