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Supplemental Brief Of Professors Anthony J. Bellia Jr. And Bradford R. Clark As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark Aug 2016

Supplemental Brief Of Professors Anthony J. Bellia Jr. And Bradford R. Clark As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents, Anthony J. Bellia, Bradford R. Clark

Anthony J. Bellia

From the Summary of Argument This case squarely presents the question whether ATS jurisdiction extends to claims solely between aliens. The plaintiffs and defendants are all aliens; no U.S. citizen or corporation has ever been a party to the case. Because the issue of party alignment under the ATS is a question of subject matter jurisdiction, the parties cannot waive it, and either the Court or a party may raise it anytime. And the question whether the ATS covers suits between aliens is likely to recur; indeed, the issue is squarely presented by the Ninth Circuit's recent ruling in Sarei …


Re-Examining Customary International Law And The Federal Courts: An Introduction, Anthony J. Bellia Aug 2016

Re-Examining Customary International Law And The Federal Courts: An Introduction, Anthony J. Bellia

Anthony J. Bellia

Legal scholars have debated intensely the role of customary international law in the American federal system. The debate involves serious questions surrounding the United States's constitutional structure, foreign relations, and human rights. Despite an impressive body of scholarship, the debate has stood at an impasse in recent years, without either side garnering a consensus. This symposium–Re-examining Customary International Law and the Federal Courts–aspires to help advance the debate over the status of customary international law in the federal courts.

The symposium received thoughtful and constructive contributions from Professors Curtis A. Bradley, Bradford R. Clark, Andrew Kent, Carlos M. Vizquez, and …


General Law In Federal Court, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia Aug 2016

General Law In Federal Court, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia

Anthony J. Bellia

Conventional wisdom maintains that the Supreme Court banished general law from federal courts in 1938 in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins when the Court overruled Swift v. Tyson. The narrative asserts that Swift viewed the common law as a “brooding omnipresence,” and authorized federal courts to disregard state common law in favor of general common law of their own choosing. The narrative continues that Erie constrained such judicial lawmaking by banishing general law from federal courts. Contrary to this account, Swift and Erie represent compatible conceptions of federal judicial power when each decision is understood in historical context. At the …


The Political Branches And The Law Of Nations, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia Aug 2016

The Political Branches And The Law Of Nations, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia

Anthony J. Bellia

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the U.S. Supreme Court went out of its way to follow background rules of the law of nations, particularly the law of state-state relations. As we have recently argued, the Court followed the law of nations because adherence to such law preserved the constitutional prerogatives of the political branches to conduct foreign relations and decide momentous questions of war and peace. Although we focused primarily on the extent to which the Constitution obligated courts to follow the law of nations in the early republic, the explanation we offered rested on an important, …


The Alien Tort Statute And The Law Of Nations, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia Aug 2016

The Alien Tort Statute And The Law Of Nations, Bradford R. Clark, Anthony J. Bellia

Anthony J. Bellia

Courts and scholars have struggled to identify the original meaning of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). As enacted in 1789, the ATS provided "[t]hat the district courts...shall...have cognizance...of all causes where an alien sues for tort only in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." The statute was rarely invoked for almost two centuries. In the 1980s, lower federal courts began reading the statute expansively to allow foreign citizens to sue other foreign citizens for all violations of modern customary international law that occurred outside the United States. In 2004, the Supreme Court took …