32 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 19 (2010)
International Wrongs, State Laws and Presidential Policies

handle is hein.journals/loyint32 and id is 21 raw text is: International Wrongs, State Laws and
Presidential Policies
MICHAEL D. RAMSEY*
In Movsesian v. Victoria Versicherung AG,' the Ninth Circuit
invalidated a California law on the grounds that it conflicted with,
and therefore was preempted by, the President's foreign policy. In
the comments below, I suggest that this decision is counter to the
Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Medellin v. Texas' and conflicts
with basic principles of U.S. constitutional law. More broadly, I
will consider the effect of presidential policies on state laws that,
like the California law at issue in Movsesian, seek to provide or
promote remedies for international wrongs.
Movsesian invalidated California Code of Civil Procedure
Section 354.4, which provides jurisdiction and an extended statute
of limitations for California residents to bring insurance claims
arising out of the unrest in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and
1923. This unrest principally targeted ethnic Armenians and has
been described as a genocide against the Armenian community.
That designation, though, is deeply contested, especially by the
current government of Turkey. The California statute adopted the
phrase Armenian Genocide victim as a statutory definition for
persons who had suffered injuries during the period, but in fact no
legal consequence turned upon the statute's use of this phrase, and
* Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law. The author
participated as counsel to amici curiae Professors of Constitutional Law and
Foreign Relations Law in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants in Weiss v.
Assicurazione Generali, S.P.A., No. 05-5612 (2d Cir. 2010), in which some of the
arguments presented here were further developed. The author also participated
in a amici curiae brief supporting the state of Texas in Medellin v. Texas, 552 U.S.
491 (2008), and served as consulting co-counsel to the California Insurance
Commissioner in American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 394
(2003).
1. Movsesian v. Victoria Versicherung AG, 578 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2009).
2. Medellin v. Texas, 552 U.S. 491 (2008).

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