Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Since the 1940s Civil Rights advocates have attempted, with little success, to use International Human Rights law to protect the rights of African Americans in the United States. However, in recent terms, the United States Supreme Court has seemingly opened the door, at least a crack, to some limited recognition of international human rights norms as a legitimate influence upon their interpretation of the Constitution. This article examines the efforts of Civil Rights Advocates to utilize human rights law and develops from this history four models of enforcement of human rights law in the United States. It details the Court's growing acceptance of. these norms and then focuses upon an issue area that is highly significant to African Americans in the United States: affirmative action. It concludes with an assessment of the value international human rights norms may have upon constitutional interpretation and the implications they have upon the claim for slavery reparations.