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We are currently in an era when the divergent methodologies of international law scholarship and the very idea that international norms might play a useful role are hotly contested. The debate about international law's impact, relevance, and role in the world has become increasingly intense as a particular version of rational choice theory, dressed up as non-normative empirical political science, has sought to advance a crabbed view of international law and to limit its influence. Scholars adhering to this view have argued that nation-state self-interest both is and should be the primary reason for forming and enforcing international law; that executive branches within states are the most legitimate agents for making and interpreting this law; and that international law has limited impact in the world. Against this backdrop, the need to define an alternative approach and call it a school becomes important because ideas advanced as part of a broader collective framework may wield more power and have greater impact. Many scholars seek to defend international law and have used a variety of methodological approaches to do so. A younger generation of international law scholars educated at Yale Law School or deeply engaged with ideas developed in New Haven have been at the forefront of these efforts. This Commentary suggests that the work of this younger generation share a number of important features that might qualify it as a new school of thought about international law - and interestingly, these features echo aspects of the original New Haven School.

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