FSIA

Supreme Court Denies Cert in Fighter Jets Case

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in Blenheim Capital Holdings Ltd. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., a case asking whether the purchase of fighter jets and other military equipment is a commercial activity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Despite a circuit split on the question, the Solicitor General recommended that the Supreme Court…

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Solicitor General Recommends Denial of Cert in FSIA Case

Is a foreign government’s purchase of military equipment a “commercial activity” for purposes of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s (FSIA) commercial activity exception? In a brief filed on May 14, 2024, at the Supreme Court’s invitation, the Solicitor General (SG) answered “it depends.” This answer is surprising. It is in considerable tension—if not outright conflict—with…

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Proposed Legislation to Amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Representatives Adam Schiff, Betty McCollum, and Gerry Connolly have introduced the  Jamal Khashoggi Protection of Activists and Press Freedom Act of 2023.  The purpose of the legislation is to protect free speech advocates and journalists. The press release announcing the draft legislation notes the murder five years ago of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “at the hands…

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Update on Cassirer

Last year, the Supreme Court decided Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, a case about choice of law under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). This post gives a quick update on what has happened since, and where things are going next. Cassirer is a lawsuit about the ownership of a Camille Pissarro painting, surrendered by…

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Cert Petition Highlights Circuit Split on Sovereign Immunity for Military Purchases

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) immunizes foreign states from suit in federal and state court. But it makes an exception for actions based on a foreign state’s commercial activities. The Supreme Court’s leading decision interpreting this exception is Republic of Argentina v. Weltover (1992), where the Court unanimously held “that when a foreign government…

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One More Thought on Halkbank

The recent Supreme Court argument in Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. (Halkbank) v. United States has captivated the transnational litigation community. Experts have weighed in in many forms, including on this blog. In this post, I want to add one more thought that I have not seen raised in this context. Even if the Court decides…

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The Media Coverage of Turkiye Halk Bankasi, in Review

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States, a criminal case originating in the Second Circuit. The defendant, Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. (“Halkbank”), is a foreign state-owned commercial bank, headquartered in Istanbul, and a subsidiary of the Turkish government’s sovereign wealth fund. Charged with laundering over $1…

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Is Buying Fighter Jets a Commercial Activity?

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) allows actions against foreign states to be brought in U.S. courts based on their commercial activities. In Republic of Argentina v. Weltover (1992), the Supreme Court held “that when a foreign government acts, not as regulator of a market, but in the manner of a private player within it,…

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Supreme Court Denies Cert in NSO v. WhatsApp

Today, the Supreme Court denied cert in NSO Group Technologies Ltd. v. WhatsApp Inc. The order lets stand a Ninth Circuit decision holding that entities that do not meet the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s (FSIA) definition of an “agency or instrumentality” of a foreign state cannot claim immunity under federal common law. (Disclosure: I joined an amicus brief…

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Solicitor General Recommends Denial of Cert in NSO v. WhatsApp

On November 21, the Solicitor General (SG) filed a brief recommending that the Supreme Court deny cert in NSO Group Technologies Ltd. v. WhatsApp Inc. NSO, an Israeli company that makes surveillance technology, claims that it is entitled to immunity from suit under federal common law because it acted as the agent of foreign states….

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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

Melissa Stewart

Georgetown University Law Center
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Matt Slovin

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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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