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19 Apr 2013

Chip Pitts, Stanford Law School

[PDF] A Quick and Dirty Q&A about the US Supreme Court’s Kiobel Decision

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The following is a “quick and dirty” Q&A (lightly edited including for clarity and to correct typos) regarding the Supreme Court’s Kiobel decision, which dismissed the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) case against Royal Dutch Shell on grounds that the statute did not reach extraterritorial conduct abroad. The Q&A captures the essence of an exchange which occurred on social media during the first couple of hours after the decision was handed down...[This] interesting exchange advances understanding about certain key aspects of the decision...[Questions answered:]...didn't all nine judges have the same view? So are all nine judges just pro-corporate?...[Why] didn't Justice Breyer and the three other “liberals” who didn’t agree with the majority opinion’s full restrictions on extraterritorial application of ATS write a robust dissent?...[Didn't the] existence [of the ATS] prevent...other countries from developing their own jurisprudence[?]...

Part of the following timelines

Human rights activists ask UK Govt. why it intervened in US court case filed by Nigerian communities against Shell

US Supreme Ct. hears oral arguments in Kiobel v. Shell Alien Tort Claims Act case - some justices seem to favour narrowing law in human rights cases

US Supreme Court issues decision in Kiobel v. Shell - Alien Tort Claims Act does not apply extraterritorially, affirms dismissal of case