[PDF] Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Co., et al. - Brief of Former US Senator Arlen Specter, Human Rights First, and the Anti-Defamation League as amici curiae in support of petitioners
In 1991, Congress adopted the Torture Victim Protection Act [TVPA] to address a significant gap in U.S. law. While foreign nationals had a right to pursue civil remedies in U.S. courts for serious human rights abuses such as torture or extrajudicial killing, U.S. citizens had no comparable right under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”)...The TVPA was established to provide a right of action to U.S. citizens for torture and extrajudicial killing, thereby affording U.S. citizens the same right already granted to foreign nationals through the ATS. Nothing in the TVPA’s text or legislative history indicates it was meant to affect or preempt the ATS. This Court should rely on the plain meaning of the TVPA and its accompanying legislative history to reject efforts to alter it beyond its congressionally authorized parameters.