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Professor Peck wins significant scholarship award for NAFTA article

WVU Law Professor Alison Peck

MORGANTOWN, W. Va.—Professor Alison Peck has won this year’s Significant Scholarship Award from WVU Law for an article that addresses President Trump’s plan to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The in-house award is given each year to a faculty member whose thorough research, clear arguments, and published work directly contribute to our understanding of important public issues.

Peck won the Significant Scholarship Award for her article “Withdrawing from NAFTA,” which was published in The Georgetown Law Journal earlier this year.

“As a law professor and the director of both the Immigration Law Clinic and International Programs, Professor Peck is deeply invested in exploring America’s role in the global community, and her commitment is clearly portrayed in her scholarship,” said Shine Tu , associate dean for faculty research and development. “Peck’s article exemplifies the clear arguments, timely concerns, and substantive research she has demonstrated throughout her career.”

In her article, Peck tackles the legality of President Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw from NAFTA, addressing whether international law would recognize executive withdrawal and whether American law would recognize unilateral presidential withdrawal.

The primary complicating issue revolves around NAFTA’s status as a congressional-executive agreement instead of a formal treaty. Such ill-defined agreements have garnered much attention regarding their constitutionality but there is little scholarship on how to terminate or withdraw from them, according to Tu.

Peck argues that, although the international community would permit executive withdrawal from NAFTA, neither the Constitution nor Congress has given the president such authority. If President Trump attempts to unilaterally terminate NAFTA, she suggests several ways for either Congress or private litigants to enforce the domestic trade obligations under NAFTA.

She asserts that if the president does attempt to withdraw without congressional cooperation, a court challenge based on limits of presidential withdrawal authority as defined in the statute implementing NAFTA into domestic law might overcome justiciability hurdles and would help define the extent of executive power to withdraw from congressional-executive agreements. 

Peck earned the 2013-14 Significant Scholarship Award for her article advocating for legal reforms to balance regulatory and legislative actions for the legal control of emerging technologies. That article was published in the Creighton Law Review.

Peck joined the WVU faculty in 2009. She earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and an LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She has practiced international arbitration and commercial litigation with Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Washington, DC.



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