The Moment of Truth for a practicing lawyer occurs whenever a prospective client tells a story that seems morally compelling but legally hopeless. That is where the attorney's legal research  should begin, not where it should end. Too much injustice persists in the world because tired legal thinking has accepted unjust patterns as legally inevitable.


The question about human rights is not "Where did they come from?" but rather "Who is trying to take them away from us?"

Left to right: Dr. Milan Kovacevic (the accused), prison guard, Anthony D'Amato (lead counsel), Dusan Vucicevic (co-counsel) at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, The Hague. The accused was the first defendant to be charged with genocide.


Hello, my name is Anthony D'Amato. Thank you for dropping by.

My reason for setting up this web is to make accessible for downloading books and articles that I've written over the years. All writings are listed in my Curriculum Vitae. Many of my articles are available on the SSRN Legal Scholarship Network. My favorite web sites are here.

Drawings by Brian D'Amato

is the Leighton Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law, where he teaches courses in international law, international human rights, analytic jurisprudence, and justice. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court,  the U.S. Tax Court, and several U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and is a member of the New York Bar. Professor D'Amato was the first American lawyer to argue (and win) a case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and he has litigated a number of human rights cases around the world. He is the author of over 20 books and over 110 articles.   Biographies of Professor D'Amato can be found in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Education, and Who's Who in American Law as well as Who's Who in International Law.
(From the Northwestern Law School website)


Jacobson, Arthur J., Taking Responsibility: Law's Relation to Justice and D'Amato's Deconstructive Practice, 90 Northwestern University LRev 1755 (1996)

Onuf, Nicholas, Book Review: International Law and Political Reality: Collected Papers, Volume One. Jl International Legal Studies (Summer 1995)

Pannier, Russell, D'Amato, Kripke, And Legal Indeterminacy, 27 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 881 (2000)

Rosen, Andrew A., D'Amato's Equilibrium: Game Theory and a Re-Evaluation of the Duty to Prosecute under International Law, 37 NYU Journal of International Law and Politics 79 (Fall 2004)

Defending the Indefensible, by Tina Rosenberg, NYT Magazine, April 19, 1998 [ICTY v. Dr. Milan Kovacevic]

Sacco, Joe, The War Crimes Trials, Details, Sept. 1998, p.260. Excerpt below.









Drone Strikes Threaten Habeas Corpus: A Proposed Solution, JURIST - Forum, Mar. 13, 2012

New Approaches to Customary International Law: Review Essay .pdf

Coerciveness of International Law, 2010 pdf Word

Legality of Gaza Blockade 6-2-10

Legal Realism Explains Nothing,UWJurisRev (2009) Word

A Few Steps toward an Explanatory Theory of International Law (2010) Word

Softness in International Law (2009) SSRN Word

A Proposal for Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock, Jurist 10/28/09 Word

Customary International Law video, 2009/Realplayer

Human Rights and Enforcement video, 2009/Realplayer

The Sources of International Law video, 2009/Realplayer

Hamas, the Gaza War, and Accountability Under International Law, Jurist, 6-15-09 Word

The Two Koreas : The Armistice and the Boundary, Jurist 6-1-09 Word

National Prosecution for International Crimes, in Bassiouni, International Criminal Law, 3d ed.

Obama Has Duty to Go after War Criminals, Chicago Sun-Times 12/3/08 Word

The FBI's New Guidelines, Jurist 10/7/08 Word

Are We Forgetting the Kurds? Jurist 8/4/08 Word

Hedge Funds Race to the Bottom: Letter, June, 2008

Waterboarding: The Key Question for Mukasey, Jurist 10/19/07 Word

Independence for Kosovo? Jurist, 6/16/07 Bepress link Word

International Law from a Machiavellian Perspective, in Clinton, The Realist Tradition (2007) Word

Kosovo: The UN Plans a Human Rights Disaster, Jurist 3/27/07 Word

True Confessions? The Amazing Tale of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Jurist 3/16/07 Word

Preface, International Humanitarian Law: Prospects (2006) Word

Bolton in Sheep's Clothing,
Jurist 11/20/06

Pyongyang and Proliferation: The UN North Korea Resolution, Jurist 10/17/06 Word

The UN Mideast Ceasefire Resolution Paragraph-by-Paragraph, Jurist 8/13/06 Word

Israel's new ground offensive and the UN peacekeeping plan, Jurist 8/9/06 Word

A proposed UN resolution on the Middle East, Jurist 8/7/06 Bepress Word

The Draft UN Middle East Ceasefire Resolution , Jurist 8/6/06 Word

Qana, War Crimes, and the Pending UN Resolution on Lebanon, Jurist 7/31/06 Word

War Crimes and the Mideast Conflict, Jurist, 7/24/06 Word

International Law Aspects of the Mideast 'War', Jurist 7/18/06 Word

International Law: A Handbook, Thomson West, 2006

Using Nuclear Weapons against Iran?
Jurist Hotline, 2/4/06 Bepress

International Law as an Autopoietic System, in Developments of International Law in Treaty Making, Springer, 2005

Preface, International Humanitarian Law: Challenges (2004) ISBN 1571052658 Word

Collected Papers:
Vol. 1 International Law and Political Reality
I. The Vietnam War
II. Other Wars and Interventions
III. Nuclear Weapons and Technology
IV. Minority Rights

Vol. 2 , International Law Studies
I. International Environmental Law
II. International Human Rights
III. International Criminal Law
IV. Foreign Relations and International Law
V. Political Science and International Law

Vol. 3, International Law Sources
I Sources
II. The Relation between Custom and Treaty
III. Non-Source Impacts upon International Law
IV. Applications

The West Bank Wall: Part I: Jurisdiction; Part 2: Merits in Jurist, 2-24-04 & 3-2-04

Trying Saddam: The Iraqi Special Tribunal for Crimes against Humanity, in Jurist, Dec 15, 2003

Secrecy in Courts 6 The Long Term View (2003)

The Road Map: Looking for Peace in the Middle East, in Jurist, May 2, 2003

Legal Boundaries of Israel in International Law in Jurist, April 8, 2002

Milosevic's Witnesses, commentary in Jurist,
February 9, 2002

Observations on the
Forthcoming Milosevic Trial
, in Jurist, August 3, 2001

Chicago Tribune Op-Ed on Assassinations.
October 28, 2001

Encyclopedia Articles

Anglo-Saxon Law, Guide to American Law

Can People Be Forced to Sell Their Land to the Federal or State Government? in George Gallup, America Wants to Know 492 (1983)

Civil Rights Movement, Guide to American Law

Disobbedienza Civile, Enciclopedia delle Scienze Sociali

Domestic Jurisdiction, Encyclopedia of Public International Law

Good Faith, Encyclopedia of Public International Law

How Does the Supreme Court Decide Which Cases to Hear? in George Gallup, America Wants to Know 488 (1983)

Indeterminacy, The Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia
International Law, Oxford Companion to American Law

International Law, Oxford Companion to American Law

Intertemporal Law, Encyclopedia of Public International Law

Justice, The Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia

Llewellyn, Karl, Guide to American Law

States' Rights Movement, Guide to American Law

Tonkin Gulf Resolution, Guide to American Law

Warren, Earl, Guide to American Law

World Book: Commonwealth, Enclave, Exile, Fiat, Free City, Mandated Territory, Nation, Viceroy




Power, Law, Actors, and the View from New Haven, 2010 SSRN Link

A New (and Better) Interpretation of Holmes's Prediction Theory of Law, 2008, SSRN Link Word

Contested Morality: Judge Posner on Infanticide, Slavery, Suttee, Female Genital Mutilation, and the Holocaust, 2008, SSRN Link Word

Why Is International Law Binding? 2008 SSRN Link Word

International Soft Law, Hard Law, and Coherence, 2008 SSRN Link Word

International Law as a Unitary System, 2008 SSRN Link Word

Natural Law - A Libertarian View, 2008 SSRN Link Word

Defenses to War Crimes : A Conceptual Overview, 2007 SSRN Link Word

On the Legitimacy of International Institutions, 2007 SSRN Link Word

Israel's Borders under International Law,, 2007 SSRN Link Word

The Interdisciplinary Turn in Legal Education, 2006 SSRN Link

A Quick Primer on Logic and Rationality, 2006 SSRN Link Word

Porn Up, Rape Down, 2006 SSRN Link Word

The Need for a Theory of International Law, 2006 SSRN Link Word

The Contribution of the Infield Fly Rule to Western Civilization (and Vice Versa), NU Law Review, SSRN link ; Bepress link Word

Why Be Fair When You Can Have Welfare? SSRN Link Word



ACHENBACH v. UNITED STATES (Internees seeking damages for having been deliberately left in harm's way) Oral arguments in this case, Nov.1, 04. Added citation

HAIR v. UNITED STATES (all Americans killed or injured in the Pacific Theatre)

ROSEN v. JAPAN (all Americans killed or injured in the Pacific Theatre)

In re Yamashita; Reading for program "War Crimes: The Position of the United States"

Email: a-damato[at]

This web site:


1. Hollywood
2. Law
3. Politics
4. Teaching
5. Einstein
6. Listserves
7. Culture
8. Wisdom
9. Some Originals

1. Hollywood

When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself. -- Peter O'Toole.

You're not kidding this time, are you? -- Boris Karloff, at the funeral of Bela Lugosi.

I'm a housekeeper. I get divorced, I keep the house. -- Zsa Zsa Gabor.

I once shook hands with Pat Boone and my whole right side sobered up --Dean Martin

I used to be Snow White but I drifted. -- Mae West

It's been so long since I've made love, I can't even remember who gets tied up. -- Joan Rivers

I've been doing the Fonda workout: the Peter Fonda workout. That's where I wake up, take a hit of acid, smoke a joint, and run to my sister's house and ask her for money. -- Kevin Meaney

Great acting requires sincerity, passion, and realism. If you can fake those things, you’ve got it made. -- Marlon Brando

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. -- W.C. Fields

There goes the good time that was had by all. -- Bette Davis (remark-ing on a passing starlet)

I like you. I kill you last. - a Schwarzenegger movie line.

When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano. -- Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller.

2. Law

You can take the lawyer out of the courtroom, but ... – Larry Kramer.

Therefore, the United States should not be weary of this claim. – Law student’s final exam.

Home-grown wheat is clearly not part of interstate commerce according to the original intent of the Farmers of the Constitution. – Law student’s final exam of some years ago when I taught Constitutional Law.

The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken. -- Jim Broadbent as Boss Tweed in Gangs of New York

Article II cannot be read to swallow itself. – Legal brief filed on behalf of Al Gore, Dec.10, 2000

Circumstantial evidence is the most damaging evidence there is, because it's the most difficult to arrange. -- Warren Burger on the O.J. Simpson trial

The Los Angeles police were so corrupt that they botched the job of framing a guilty person. -- Professor Ron Allen

The Iliad was not written by Homer, but by a different blind man who was called Homer. – Anon. law professor

A is the owner of Blackacre, so for convenience we’ll call him B. – Anon. law professor.

3. Politics

For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program. – Anon.

If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure. -- Dan Quayle

For Americans, winning is not enough—others must lose. – Gore Vidal

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. --Hubert H. Humphrey

If a problem can't be solved, enlarge it. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

When enough bureaucratic prestige has been invested in a policy, it is easier to see it fail than to abandon it. -- Henry Kissinger

It was said of Richard Nixon that although he doesn't think honesty is the best policy, he does think it's a policy

The great thing about being famous is that when you're boring people think it's their fault. -- Henry Kissinger

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics, philosophy, geography, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture … -- John Adams

4. Teaching

I have taught forgettably many classes. – Professor Robert Paul

Why is it that each year I have to teach them the exact same thing all over again? -- Professor Carolyn Bell (Wellesley College)

Now remember, just because a Wellesley student is rich and beautiful doesn’t mean she’s stupid. – President Margaret Clapp, welcoming us new liberal assistant professors in September 1962

A Stanford dean once tried to deal with a “deadwood” on the faculty by suggesting that he take a well-earned early retirement at half salary. The professor declined, pointing out that, after all, he was already retired on full salary. – Anon.

5. Einstein

Any idea that can be put into a nutshell should remain there

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits

The fish will be the last to discover water

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious

It is the theory which decides what we can observe

Anybody who really wants to abolish war must resolutely declare himself in favor of his own country's resigning a portion of its sovereignty in favor of international institutions: he must be ready to make his own country amenable, in case of a dispute, to the award of an international court.

6. Listserves

I have been on this listserve for four years; this is the first time I've used the expression "Joe Sixpack." Believe me: If I'd had any idea that anyone found it offensive, I would have used it long before now. -- Anon.

We are a hospice and workshop for people with untreatable delusions of adequacy. – Reply email to a Nigerian con artist.

7. Culture

Wagner's music is better than it sounds. -- Mark Twain

I have been working on a book for several years now which addresses everything I think about, and one of the things I touch on is culture. – Footnote in a law student’s term paper

That's a difficult question. Goethe might have answered it, but he didn't think it was worthwhile. -- Hans Zinsser, in Rats, Lice & History

Dante was a great transitional figure. With one foot planted firmly in the Middle Ages, he saluted the rising sun of the Renaissance with the other. -- From a literature student’s exam as reported by John Ciardi

If saucers come from outer space, why have their pilots not attempted to make contact with us, instead of hovering mysteriously over deserted areas? My own theory is that for creatures from another solar system “hovering” may be a socially acceptable mode of relating. It may, indeed, be pleasurable. I myself once hovered over an eighteen-year-old actress for six months, and had the best time of my life. -- Woody Allen

After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, "No hablo Ingles." -- Anon.

A gentleman is never unintentionally rude. G.K. Chesterton

You can only drink 30 or 40 glasses of beer a day, no matter how rich you are. -- Colonel Adolphus Busch

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -- Benjamin Franklin

Wine is the most civilized thing in the world. -- Ernest Hemingway

Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on a weekend. – Woody Allen

Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be. -- Rita Rudner

Approximately 100% of crop circles are man-made. -- Joe Nickell

Who would have thought that there are so many things in the world that I do not want? – Socrates, while strolling through the marketplace in Athens

8. Wisdom

When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations. -- Alexander. Solzhenitsyn

Those who are kind to the cruel will be cruel to the kind. – The Talmud
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them. – Anon.

Seek simplicity and mistrust it. – Alfred North Whitehead

It is better to be wrong than to be vague. -- Freeman Dyson.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. – Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

The paradox about evolution is that it has produced people who say they understand it. -- Stuart Kauffman

Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability. -- George Bernard Shaw

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. -- Oscar Wilde

Coincidences are spiritual puns. – G.K. Chesterton

Life isn’t everything. – Neil Simon

My one regret in life is that I’m not someone else. – Woody Allen

First things first, but not necessarily in that order. -- Doctor Who

Beware the 12-division strategy for a 10-division Army. -- Gen. Eric Shinseki

There's a rule that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. -- Gen. Anthony Zinni

Whose side were we on in the war, Daddy? -- Dr. Peter Hall

It was not enough to produce satisfactory soap, it was also necessary to induce people to wash. – Joseph Schumpeter (1939).

Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way you'll be a mile away from them. And you'll have their shoes. – Anon.

9. Some Originals
(unless someone I never heard of beat me to it):

His treachery was so thick you could stab it with a knife

Little things matter. But they matter less than big things

There are a great many people worse off than me. Dead people

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

The most important thing in life is – I forgot

If someday we build a computer that can understand wave-particle duality, I’m sure we’ll be unable to understand the computer.