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2011

Law Faculty Publications

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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

A Realist Defense Of The Alien Tort Statute, Robert Knowles Jan 2011

A Realist Defense Of The Alien Tort Statute, Robert Knowles

Law Faculty Publications

This Article offers a new justification for modern litigation under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a provision from the 1789 Judiciary Act that permits victims of human rights violations anywhere in the world to sue tortfeasors in U.S. courts. The ATS, moribund for nearly 200 years, has recently emerged as an important but controversial tool for the enforcement of human rights norms. “Realist” critics contend that ATS litigation exasperates U.S. allies and rivals, weakens efforts to combat terrorism, and threatens U.S. sovereignty by importing into our jurisprudence undemocratic international law norms. Defenders of the statute, largely because ...