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Peter Rutledge (left) and Michael Baker Peter Rutledge (left) and Michael Baker

For over four decades, the Alien Tort Statute has served as a central battleground in some of the country’s (and world’s) most significant international human rights litigation. Following a trend in its ATS jurisprudence that started with its opinion in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, the Supreme Court recently trimmed the statute’s scope yet further. In Jesner v. Arab Bank PLC, the Court held that suits arising under the ATS did not extend to claims against corporations (at least some of them, a nuance explained below). Once again, postdecisional commentary decried the demise of ATS suits and a blow, more generally, to the cause of human rights.

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