Today in Legal History: Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York

The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor on June 19, 1885. The statue was a gift from France to the United States commemorating the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The 151-foot statue, Liberty Enlightening the World, was designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, and was dismantled into 350 pieces to be transported to the United States. The statue took four months to reassemble on Bedloe’s Island where it remains a symbol of freedom and democracy to the nation and the world.

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Today in Legal History: V-E Day Celebrated

On May 8, 1945, the United States and Great Britain celebrated Victory in Europe day. This day marked the end of World War II and the surrender of German troops throughout Europe. World War II began in 1939, with Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and France and England declaring war on Germany two days later. The war lasted six years, causing massive destruction and taking more lives than any previous war.

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The U.S. and the International Criminal Court

Jen Trahan blogged recently on Opinio Juris that three statements made by the former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh, prior to leaving office in December, 2012, could signal a return to signatory status for the United States with respect to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. At separate appearances at NYU, the University of Leiden, and the New York City Bar Association, Koh clearly stated that the U.S. respected the “object and purpose” of the treaty. Under normal circumstances this would place the United States in conformance with article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties on the obligations of treaty signatories. Whether Koh’s oral statements would trump the written note sent by John Bolton to the UN in 2002, withdrawing U.S. intent to become a party, is still in question.