Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain
- Case Date: 10/6/2003
- Project Name: Protecting America's Freedom: National Security and Defense
On June 29, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an appeals court decision that allowed aliens to second-guess law enforcement policy by filing suits under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) alleging violations of international law. In so doing, the Court set out ground rules that will make it difficult for others to prevail in pending ATS suits raising similar claims. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief supporting a police officer being sued for damages. The decision leaves the door slightly ajar for ATS suits. The Court said that the ATS creates federal court jurisdiction for tort suits alleging violations of clearly established international norms. But the Court rejected claims that the ATS creates causes of action. Rather, the Court said that ATS suits must proceed, if at all, under federal common law -- a limited doctrine that does not permit courts to act on their own (as did the appeals court here) in determining the scope of enforceable international law.
More Information and Downloads:
1/23/2004: Download the Brief
10/6/2003: Download the Brief
Litigation Update: Court Limits Suits Claiming Violations Of International Law