Act of State Doctrine

Using TLB to Teach Foreign Relations Law

This post discusses Foreign Relations Law as part of our series explaining how professors can use resources on TLB to teach various classes. Previous posts have discussed Transnational Litigation, Civil Procedure, International Business Transactions, and Conflict of Laws. Although TLB focuses on litigation, and although Foreign Relations Law classes cover many topics that are rarely litigated, there is…

Continue Reading

Is MBS Entitled to Head of State Immunity?

Editor’s Note: This article also appears in Just Security. In 2018, Saudi security agents brutally murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation. In 2020, Khashoggi’s widow and a non-profit organization that he helped found sued MBS and…

Continue Reading

Throwback Thursday: American Banana and the Presumption Against Extraterritoriality

Today, it is “well established” that U.S. antitrust law applies extraterritorially to foreign conduct that causes substantial effects in the United States, but this was not always true. When the Supreme Court first addressed the geographic scope of the Sherman Act in 1909, it held that the act applied only to conduct in the United…

Continue Reading

When Should Federal Common Law Govern Transnational Litigation?

The conventional wisdom is that transnational litigation “can trigger foreign relations concerns.” Because the federal government has primary responsibility for the United States’ relations with other nations, the question naturally arises whether federal law should govern such litigation even when neither a federal statute, nor the U.S. Constitution, nor a treaty is applicable. Currently, as…

Continue Reading

A Primer on State Law in Transnational Litigation

[Editors: This post is one in a series of Primers on topics in transnational litigation. Primers on each of the topics listed in the Topics menu are planned, and some already appear on the relevant topic pages.] The procedural and substantive rules that U.S. courts apply in transnational litigation come from many sources, including the…

Continue Reading

Throwback Thursday: International Association of Machinists v. OPEC

In 1978, the International Association of Machinists (IAM), a labor union, sued OPEC and its member countries for violating U.S. antitrust law by operating a cartel. The district court held that OPEC countries were immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). On appeal the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal on…

Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rejects Act of State Doctrine in Antitrust Case

In a recent decision, Celestin v. Caribbean Air Mail, Inc., the Second Circuit held that the act of state doctrine does not bar U.S. antitrust claims based on the acts of a foreign government. Although the Second Circuit is right, its decision diverges from the decisions of other circuits that have applied the doctrine as…

Continue Reading

Throwback Thursday: Joseph Story and the Comity of Nations

One of the most influential books on transnational litigation was written nearly two centuries ago by a sitting Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws, first published in 1834, synthesized foreign and domestic cases regarding conflict of laws and the enforcement of foreign judgments. Story endorsed international comity…

Continue Reading

Cert Petition Challenges Second Circuit’s Comity Abstention Doctrine

A cert petition filed with the Supreme Court on March 21, 2022 challenges the doctrine of prescriptive comity abstention.  The Second Circuit used this doctrine to reverse a $147 million antitrust judgment against Chinese companies for fixing the price of vitamin C sold into the United States. The Second Circuit’s decision relies on the kind…

Continue Reading

Foreign Dictators in U.S. Courts

Statues of dictators

From Augusto Pinochet to Jiang Zemin and Ferdinand Marcos, foreign dictators have for decades faced a range of claims in U.S. courts. But there is also a line of cases in U.S. courts involving dictators as plaintiffs. Over the last decade, authoritarian governments from China, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela have used the U.S. judicial system to file frivolous claims against political opponents. And these claims appear to be mainly a harassment technique against dissidents and media outlets based in the United States.

Continue Reading

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 Coyle

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

Peter B. "Bo" Rutledge

University of Georgia School of Law
Bio | Posts

Linda J. Silberman

New York University School of Law
Bio | Posts

Geneviève Saumier

McGill University Faculty of Law
Bio | Posts

David L. Sloss

Santa Clara University School of Law
Bio | Posts

Philippa Webb

King's College London
Bio | Posts

Robert Kry

MoloLamken LLP
Bio | Posts

Katie Burghardt Kramer

DGW Kramer LLP
Bio | Posts

Emma White

Vanderbilt Law School
Bio | Posts

Ellen Nohle

Yale Law School
Bio | Posts

Chris Ewell

EarthRights International
Bio | Posts

Oona A. Hathaway

Yale Law School
Bio | Posts