Federal Common Law

Throwback Thursday: Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino

Sixty years ago, on March 23, 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino. By a vote of 8-1, the Court held that the act of state doctrine prevented U.S. courts from questioning the validity of Cuba’s expropriations of property owned by U.S. nationals, even if the…

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Second Circuit Hears Halkbank Oral Argument

On February 28, 2024, the Second Circuit heard oral argument in United States v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. From the judges’ questions—which admittedly came almost exclusively from Judge Bianco—the panel seems likely to hold that Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, is not immune under federal common law from criminal prosecution for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. That…

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What Does Customary International Law Say About Halkbank’s Immunity?

Tomorrow, the Second Circuit will hear argument in United States v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. to consider whether Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank (but not its central bank), is immune from criminal prosecution for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Halkbank claimed immunity under both the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and federal common law. The U.S….

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U.S. Brief in Halkbank Abandons Customary International Law in Immunity Cases

In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States (Halkbank), the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal proceedings. The Court remanded Halkbank’s separate claim of common law immunity to the Second Circuit for reconsideration. On November 20, 2023, after two extensions, the United States filed its brief on remand. The U.S….

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Throwback Thursday: Eighty Years of Ex Parte Republic of Peru

Back in 1943, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in an admiralty case against the Ucayali, a Peruvian steamship. A Cuban company brought the in rem action in a federal district court in Louisiana alleging that the steamship violated a charter agreement by failing to carry a cargo of sugar from Peru to New York….

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Federal Law and Choice-of-Law Reform

How much should federal law have to say about the choice-of-law rules used by federal courts in diversity cases? In Klaxon v. Stentor Electric Manufacturing Co., Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court held that federal courts sitting in diversity should apply the choice-of-law rules prevailing in the states in which they sit. This post defends the…

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Halkbank On Remand: Immunity and Extraterritoriality – Judicial Deference or Customary International Law?

The Supreme Court surprised some by ruling unanimously in Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not protect Halkbank from criminal prosecution in U.S. courts. Seven Justices concluded that the FSIA applies solely to civil actions but remanded the case – without guidance – for the Second…

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Discovery and Immunity: LIV v. PGA

Photo by Edwin Compton on Unsplash

The U.S. legal battle between the PGA Tour (Tour) and the upstart rival LIV Golf continues to revolve around discovery. As regular TLB readers know, LIV Golf is a new professional golf tour that competes with the PGA, in part by luring PGA players to play in LIV tournaments. LIV is financed by the Public Investment…

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Dear Justice Gorsuch: There’s No Reason to Worry About the Remand in Halkbank

In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States (Halkbank), the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal proceedings. The Court remanded the case to the Second Circuit to reconsider Halkbank’s claim of common law immunity. Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justice Alito, wrote a partial dissent. He would…

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Open Questions after Halkbank

The Supreme Court held this week in Türkiye Halk Bankasi, A.S. v. United States that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal prosecutions. That holding was a blow to Halkbank—a foreign state-owned enterprise under indictment—which had argued that the FSIA provided it with immunity. But the case is not over. The…

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Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School
ingrid.wuerth@vanderbilt.eduEmail

William Dodge

UC Davis School of Law
wsdodge@ucdavis.eduEmail

Maggie Gardner

Cornell Law School
mgardner@cornell.eduEmail

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law
jfcoyle@email.unc.eduEmail

Zachary D. Clopton

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
zclopton@law.northwestern.eduEmail

Noah Buyon

Duke University School of Law
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Will Moon

University of Maryland
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William K. McGoughran

Vanderbilt Law School
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Chimène Keitner

UC Davis School of Law
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Catherine Amirfar

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Justin R. Rassi

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Isabelle Glimcher

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Ben Köhler

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
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Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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Timothy D. Lytton

Georgia State University College of Law
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