Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Republic of Marshall Islands v. United States (9th Cir. - July 31, 2017)

This morning brings a very good example of a lawsuit with a zero percent probability of success.  Zero.  As anyone with any knowledge of the underlying subject matter -- despite it being allegedly "complex" -- would well know:

"Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the “Treaty” or the “Non-Proliferation Treaty”) . . . calls on each party to the Treaty “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures” to end the nuclear arms race and accomplish nuclear disarmament.   Armed with Article VI, one of the treaty parties, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, filed suit, asking the federal court to declare the United States in breach of its treaty obligations and to order the United States to engage in good-faith negotiations."

Uh, dude.  To state the facts of the case is pretty much all I need to know in order to tell you how it's going to come out.

But lest you take it from me, here's how the Ninth Circuit summarizes things:

"These claims are nonjusticiable -- Article VI is not directly enforceable in federal court, the Marshall Islands’ asserted injuries are not redressable, and the claims raise nonjusticiable political questions.  At bottom, the suit is doomed because diplomatic negotiations among parties to this Treaty fall quintessentially within the realm of the executive, not the judiciary. Parleying a halt to the nuclear arms race and achieving nuclear disarmament involve decision-making delegated to the political branches. We affirm the district court’s dismissal of the complaint. Asking the federal court to order the United States to negotiate in “good faith” on “effective measures” for nuclear disarmament puts the judiciary in the role of nanny to the executive. Under our system of separation of powers, the federal court cannot give the Marshall Islands the judicial relief it seeks."

And that's even from an author (Judge McKeown) who's probably generally somewhat sympathetic to the plaintiff's cause.

In short, no, you're not going to win this lawsuit.  No chance.  Zero.