Interesting News from the Supreme Court Regarding the ATS


The blogs were abuzz last week about the Kiobel case (argued on February 28), which asks whether corporations may be sued for violations of the law of nations under the Alien Tort Statute.  Full information is available here.  Today, the Supreme Court took the atypical step of ordering reargument.  The Court’s order sets out a briefing schedule for the parties that runs to June 29.  Reading between the lines, it appears that some members of the Court have determined that Kiobel, as it was briefed, was not the best vehicle to resolve the issues at stake.  As such, the Court has asked for briefing on the following question:  “Whether and under what circumstances the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, allows courts to recognize a cause of action for violations of the law of nations occurring within the territory of a sovereign other than the United States.”  This is, of course, a question of extraterritoriality–a question at the heart of Justice Kennedy and Alito’s questions at oral argument.  The ATS continues its interesting twists and turns….