April 30, 2007
Fourth Circuit Cites Curtis Partner Jacques Semmelman's Law Review Article
In a decision issued March 22, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit cited Jacques Semmelman's law review article, Federal Courts, the Constitution, and the Rule of Non-Inquiry in International Extradition Proceedings, 76 Cornell L. Rev. 1198 (1991), to reject the Government's argument, based on the "Rule of Non-Inquiry," that a federal district court lacks jurisdiction to review an extradition decision by the Secretary of State. The Rule of Non-Inquiry, a common law doctrine developed by the federal courts in international extradition cases, precludes a U.S. court from scrutinizing a foreign government's legal system in deciding whether to certify an accused for extradition. The Fourth Circuit stated that "[u]nderstanding the underpinnings of this rule is critical in deciding whether it applies here," and proceeded to cite extensively to Mr. Semmelman's article. The court concluded, based largely upon the history and doctrinal evolution of the rule as delineated in the article, that the Government's position was unjustified. The court, however, sustained the Government's position on a different, statutory basis. The case is reported at Mironescu v. Costner, 480 F.3d 664 (4th Cir. 2007).