Separation of Powers

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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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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Jia on the U.S.- China Rivalry

Mark Jia has posted an interesting new article on SSRN, American Law in the New Global Conflict.  It considers how China has shaped U.S. law historically and how the current rivalry between the U.S. and China will play out for domestic law.  The history is fascinating. It discusses not only the racist and xenophobic Chinese…

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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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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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District Court Refuses to Let 9/11 Plaintiffs Have Afghan Central Bank Assets

The District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge George Daniels) has denied the turnover motions filed by judgment creditors against assets of Da Afghanistan Bank (“DAB”) that are held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“FRBNY”). Judge Daniels’ order and decision, issued on February 21, 2023, adopted the report and…

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Executive Control Versus “Deference” in Halkbank

On January 17, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States(Halkbank) on whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) applies to criminal prosecutions. One argument advanced by the government in Halkbank (and other immunity cases) is that the executive branch has absolute control over immunity determinations not governed by…

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Throwback Thursday: The Tate Letter and Foreign Sovereign Immunity

Seventy years ago this week, Department of State Legal Adviser Jack Tate wrote to Attorney General Philip Perlman to announce a sea change in State’s litigation practice vis-à-vis foreign sovereign immunity. The so-called “Tate Letter” informed the Department of Justice that State would shift from the “classical” approach to sovereign immunity to what’s known as…

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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

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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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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