Atlantic Legal Foundation’s Position on State Intervention in Foreign Affairs is Adopted


In June, 2000, the United States Supreme Court decided Crosby v. The National Foreign Trade Council, invalidating a Massachusetts law that barred state agencies from doing business with any firm that had commercial dealings with entities in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). The Court affirmed the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision on all major issues: federal preemption, the plenary foreign affairs power and the foreign commerce power of the Federal Government.

Partnering with the Washington law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Atlantic Legal submitted an amicus brief on behalf of former President Gerald Ford and approximately thirty former senior executive branch foreign affairs officials, including former Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, former Attorneys General as well as U.S. Trade representatives, National Security Advisors and White House Chiefs of Staff. Atlantic Legal’s brief focused on the plenary foreign affairs power of the federal government, and argued that not only did the United States Constitution and Supreme Court precedent assign exclusive jurisdiction over foreign affairs to the federal government, but that, speaking from their vast experience in making and implementing foreign policy, Atlantic Legals amici believe that as a practical matter it would be inefficient and dangerous to permit the 50 states and thousands of local governments to engage in making foreign policy decisions.