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U.S. Supreme Court, International Law, Constitutional Law, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Oct. 16, 2017

Aliens v. Corporations

As SCOTUS hears arguments in 'Jesner v. Arab Bank,' international law experts Kristin Linsley (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher) and Professor Peter Margulies offer opposing views on whether the Alien Tort Statute applies to corporate defendants


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Two guests this week will present competing constructions of the Alien Tort Statute, one of our country's oldest laws, originating in the 1789 Judiciary Act. Though the statute has been on the books for more than two centuries, one critical question remains unanswered, exactly to whom does the statute apply? Specifically, does the ATS provide for corporate liability? Justices heard oral argument on that question Wednesday, in Jesner v. Arab Bank, and our guests Kristin Linsley (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher) and Professor Peter Margulies (RWU School of Law) will explain their opposing viewpoints. Ms. Linsley filed an amicus brief in the last SCOTUS case to regard this question, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a case that left the question unanswered after deciding the matter on other grounds. Professor Margulies filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of two U.S. senators, Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and argues that the ATS does indeed allow for corporate defendants.

We'll also hear from Don Kilmer (Law Offices of Donald Kilmer APC), who explains the likely next steps for his lawsuit against Alameda County that seeks to establish greater Second Amendment protections for gun sellers. An en banc 9th Circuit just held that a county zoning ordinance that prevented Kilmer's clients from opening a full-service gun store in areas of unincorporated Alameda County was lawful, but Kilmer believes the time may be ripe for the Supreme Court to address the question.

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