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17 Jul 2012

Alison Frankel, Thomson Reuters News & Insight

In Kiobel filings, human rights group queries AG Holder conflicts

The human rights group EarthRights International wants answers about the government's amicus brief in the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court rehearing of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which will determine whether victims of international human rights violations can sue in U.S. courts. In Kiobel's first trip to the Supreme Court last term, the U.S. government sided with the plaintiffs…But when the justices sent the case back to the parties…-- the Justice Department switched sides…The State Department, which had joined Justice in signing the first Kiobel amicus brief, pointedly did not sign the second one…EarthRights has sent Freedom of Information Act requests to the Justice Department, the Solicitor General's office and the State Department, asking for any records related to [Attorney General Eric] Holder, [Deputy Solicitor General Sri] Srinivasan and the Kiobel case, including any communications from business groups that sought to influence the Justice Department. [also refers to Chiquita, ExxonMobil, Ford]