LGST 219 - Class 16 Notes

LGST 219 - Class 16 Notes - CLASS 16(Nov 7 ATCA and Human...

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CLASS 16 (Nov. 7): ATCA and Human Rights 1] Supreme Court has agreed to hear this Nigerian case Kiobel vs. Oil Dutch. a. Maybe this Supreme Court ruling will clarify the current law. 2] The ATCA opens a window allowing the penetration of international human rights law. a. This is very unusual because in general U.S. courts do not decide cases using international law. International law is effective in the U.S. only to the extent that congress will enact a law that will replicate the position in international law. 3] Movement in conservative circles in the U.S. is making it prohibitive for U.S. courts to refer to international law. It is conceivable that we may see a law passed that says that U.S. courts cannot make any reference to international law. 4] ATCA is revived in 1980 with the Filartiga case. a. That is not a Supreme Court decision. It's only a Court of Appeals decision. Everyone was pretty casual about the outcome because we have one Paraguayan suing another for torture and murder in Paraguay. 5] In many of these ATCA suits there are now big U.S. interests at stake. As stakes grow higher it is not surprising that we see that many U.S. courts trying to limit ATCA. a. We need to construe ATCA very narrowly to prevent it from working against the U.S. 6] In a 2004 case, the Supreme Court was very concerned that their ATCA decision wasn’t going to ruin U.S. foreign relations. a. The U.S. Supreme Court is the guardian of the constitution and ensures that we continue to have 3 equal branches of government. The judiciary should not make decisions that interfere with the executive. b. So you can easily scare a court if you tell it that this case has serious ramifications for U.S. foreign policy. They would be worried that they might infringe the separation of powers by getting into areas that might be constitutionally assigned to the executive branch like in the Sosa case. 7] Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain Case (ATCA/ Human rights/ precedent) a. This is an extremely weird case. b. We have a U.S. drug agency figure, who is tortured and murdered by Alvarez-Machain in Mexico.
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c. We have another party, Sosa, who is also Mexican who goes over the border and abducts Alvarez, dragging him by coercion across the border so that he can be prosecuted in the U.S. for the murder of this drug enforcement agent in Mexico. d. After this occurs and Alvarez is found not guilty, Alvarez sues Sosa through ATCA. He
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LGST 219 - Class 16 Notes - CLASS 16(Nov 7 ATCA and Human...

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