The U.S. Supreme Court sharply limited the reach of a federal law used to hold corporations and others accountable for human rights abuses committed abroad. But human rights lawyers predicted additional litigation over the degree to which the federal courthouse door was left ajar.

Writing for the court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said the presumption against the extraterritorial application of federal laws applies to the 1789 Alien Tort Statute (ATS).

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