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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 v. Rio Tinto, PLC, 671 F.3d 736 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc), which this Court has held pending disposition of this case. If the Court decides that the ATS does not confer jurisdiction over suits between aliens, then it will likely never have to decide the question of corporate liability under the statute. Today, unlike in 1789, suits by aliens against U.S. defendants can easily satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement for foreign diversity jurisdiction. Because almost all lawsuits against U.S. corporations would fall within such jurisdiction, foreign plaintiffs would almost never have to rely on the ATS.


Table of Authorities include:

Anthony J. Bellia Jr. & Bradford R. Clark, The Alien Tort Statute and the Law of Nations, 78 U. Chi. L. Rev. 445 (2011)

Anthony J. Bellia Jr. & Bradford R. Clark, The Federal Common Law of Nations, 109 Colum. L. Rev. 1 (2009)