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Argument recap: In search of an [Alien Tort Statute] compromise [USA]

Author: Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog, Published on: 1 October 2012

Clearly wary of turning U.S. courts into monitors of rogue governments around the world,…the Supreme Court opened the new Term…in pursuit of ways to limit the reach of [the Alien Tort Statute]. Still, a majority did not seem inclined to narrow the Alien Tort Statute nearly into non-existence. A compromise seemed in the offing in the major new test case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum...The simplest option open to the Court…would be to rule that the ATS simply has no role to play whatsoever when a claim of atrocities abroad has no immediate connection with the United States…But that option looked harsh, as Justices spoke of the kinds of evil that are known to occur…that might be regarded as the modern equivalent of lawlessness such as piracy that had prompted the founding generation to enact the ATS to do something about it.

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