Justice Kennedy Is Back for More Torture [USA]
[T]he new U.S. Supreme Court term is already upon us. In the balance first is the future of human rights litigation in U.S. courts -- and whether torture committed by foreigners abroad is any of our business…[T]his one begins with fevered speculation about what is on the mind of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. The case being heard Oct. 1, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, has been full of surprises from the start…The only issue was supposed to be whether corporations, too, were liable under international law…The court’s choice to revisit the settled precedent took human rights activists by surprise. Since the 1980s, the 1789 law, known as the Alien Tort Statute, has become a crucial tool for taking gross human rights violations into U.S. courts. The suits rarely yield any money for plaintiffs -- their real purpose is to shed light on outrageous abuses in a trustworthy venue.