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What Did the Founders Think About International Law?

Last term, the Supreme Court postponed its decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a case that initially asked whether the Alien Tort Statute…applies to non-natural persons…Instead, the Court called for further briefing and re-argument on a more basic question: Does the ATS allow U.S. courts to even hear lawsuits for violations of international law on foreign soil? Cato’s previous brief in this case argued that the ATS must be interpreted in a manner consistent with Congress’s original jurisdictional grant…But the inquiry need not end there, because the Founders understood “the law of nations” to provide a methodology for defining the extraterritorial scope of ATS jurisdiction as well, as we explain in our supplemental Kiobel brief. We argue that the Founders’ understanding of jurisdiction rested on the nexus between territory and sovereignty...

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Shell lawsuit (re Nigeria - Kiobel & Wiwa)

Cato Institute & others file amicus briefs supporting Shell in US Supreme Court's review of Alien Tort Claims Act in Kiobel v. Shell