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Abstract

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) has provoked extensive, passionate debate, despite the relatively modest practical import of ATS cases. The outsized controversy surrounding the statute reflects its role in a longstanding struggle for control over the interpretation and enforcement of international law, and over whether that law will serve as a meaningful restraint on the actions of states, state officials, and corporations. As a result, the history of the ATS offers a unique window into the modern history of international law.

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