ArgentinaWe’ve been keeping tabs on Argentina’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of an appeals court decision that upheld the right of bondholders to enforce their contractual rights against foreign states that have defaulted on their commercial debt (Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital). WLF filed a successful amicus brief supporting the bondholders’ rights in this case when it was before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The latest development in the case is a rather intriguing one, considering the stature of the individuals involved. Former Attorney General of the United States Michael Mukasey (who also previously served as a federal district court judge) has filed an amicus brief joined by five other former federal district or circuit court judges encouraging the Supreme Court to deny review in the Second Circuit case. Appellees, i.e. parties who prevailed in a case being appealed to a higher court, normally discourage amicus briefs supporting their opposition to certiorari, as such briefs may draw unwelcome attention to the appellant’s case. Given the high stakes in this appeal, and the high-profile decisions by certain nations to support Argentina (or, in the case of the United States, a decision not to support), however, it’s doubtful that the brief from General Mukasey and his fellow former judges is unwelcome.

The five other former federal judges are: Alfred J. Lechner, Jr. (District of New Jersey); Michael J. McConnell (Tenth Circuit); Paul G. Cassell (District of Utah); Michael Chertoff (Third Circuit, also former Secretary, Department of Homeland Security); and Mark Filip (Northern District of Illinois, also former Deputy Attorney General of the U.S.).

On May 7, WLF Chief Counsel Richard Samp participated in a teleconference where he discussed the former judges’ amicus brief and other matters related to Argentina’s pending cert petition.  Below are several of the stories Rich’s comments at the teleconference generated: