60 Va. J. Int’l L. Online 1 (2019)

Roncevert Ganan Almond, After the Max: Rebuilding U.S. Aviation Leadership

From the inception of powered flight to the establishment of an international aviation legal regime, the United States has served as the long-time leader of the global aviation system.  The international response to the recent crashes of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft suggests that America’s leadership is now in question.  The United States’ system of regulation is currently under international scrutiny.  The accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia have raised difficult questions concerning the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight practices, the role and influence of industry, and the U.S. government’s handling of accidents involving U.S.-manufactured aircraft.  The Trump administration’s political response, deregulatory agenda, and disdain for international institutions have aggravated these concerns.  This essay argues that the United States should approach the 737 MAX accidents as an opportunity to rebuild its leadership role by conducting a thorough and transparent investigation and reforming its regulatory oversight program.  Investigators must closely examine the FAA’s system of delegation, which may not have included adequate supervision and technical control over designated organizations such as Boeing.  According to prior investigations, at the time of the 737 MAX certification, the agency’s designee oversight was not consistent with U.S. obligations under international law and best practices in aviation safety.  More recent reviews, following the 737 MAX accidents, support this conclusion.  Areas for reform include: (1) increasing supervision and control of appointed personnel at designated organizations; (2) improving the staffing methodology and training program for FAA aircraft engineers overseeing designees; (3) developing more effective guidance material and job aids to enable oversight of delegated functions; (4) escalating surveillance and enforcement in relation to designated organizations; and (5) providing the adequate political will and resources for the FAA to strengthen its oversight of industry designees.  After the 737 MAX accident, through a comprehensive investigation and robust reform, the United States can lift the baseline for aviation regulation and governance worldwide.

59 Va. J. Int’l L. Online (2018)

Byron Crowe, Moseneke’s Impact on Land Restitution

“In May 2016, after over fourteen years on the bench, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke retired from his position on South Africa’s highest court…this review gives an overview of My Own Liberator while adding color to Moseneke’s work at the Court, particularly as it related to land restitution. Part II provides a summary of My Own Liberator, and Part III discusses the background of land restitution in South Africa and Moseneke’s impact on it. Part IV concludes by giving a brief assessment of Moseneke’s memoir and how it relates to his land restitution jurisprudence.”

58 Va. J. Int’l L. Online (2017)

René Reyes, May Britain Trump America When It Comes to Democracy?

“[F]rom its very beginnings as a nation, America has emphasized the contrasts between its approach to government and the example set by its British predecessor…So began America’s proud history of democratic exceptionalism—at least according to the traditional narrative.  But does the traditional narrative obscure more than it reveals?  Just how democratic is America relative to Britain as a matter of historical constitutional structure and contemporary political reality?  This Essay explores those questions through the lens of national elections in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2016 and 2017.”