Human Rights Litigation

New Bill Would Amend the Alien Tort Statute to Apply Extraterritorially

Last week, Senators Dick Durbin and Sherrod Brown introduced a new bill, the Alien Tort Statute Clarification Act (ATSCA), that would amend the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) to apply extraterritorially. Since 1980, plaintiffs have relied on the ATS to bring international human rights claims in federal court against individuals and corporations. But since 2013, the…

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Can Defendants Be Sued at Home? Forum Non Conveniens, Expendable Lives, and the Legacy of Gore v. U.S. Steel Corp.

Diverse Stock Photos

Many were shocked last month when court documents revealed that Johnson & Johnson tested the safety of its talc powder in the 1960s by injecting asbestos into mostly Black inmates at Philadelphia’s Holmesburg prison. The use of Holmesburg inmates for medical studies was already well-documented, echoing the U.S. Government’s syphilis studies in hundreds of Black…

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Customary International Law’s Domestic Status: Reflections After Twenty-Five Years

We are grateful to Bill Dodge for highlighting our 1997 article on the domestic legal status of customary international law.  In that article, we critically analyzed what we referred to as the “modern position,” which is the claim made by some academics and the Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law that customary international law has…

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Throwback Thursday: Revisiting Bradley and Goldsmith’s “Critique of the Modern Position”

Twenty-five years ago, Professors Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith shook the fields of transnational litigation, federal courts, and foreign relations law by questioning the conventional wisdom that customary international law has the status of federal common law. Their article Customary International Law as Federal Common Law: A Critique of the Modern Position, published in the…

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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.

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A Primer on Extraterritoriality

Extraterritoriality refers to the application of a state’s law beyond the state’s borders. Although the word “extraterritorial” often has negative connotations, international law permits a great deal of extraterritorial regulation. In a world where trade, information, crime, and lots of other things regularly cross borders, states often have an interest in regulating beyond the strict…

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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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