• October 10, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Jeffrey S. Vogt, Legal Director, Solidarity Center

    Since the modern “rediscovery” of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), starting with Filártiga v. Peña-Irala in 1980, corporations have been named as defendants in ATS cases. That corporations could be held liable under the ATS for jus cogens violations of customary international law had for years generated little controversy. In 1997, in Doe v. Unocal Corp, the first major ATS case against a corporation, the question as to whether corporations, as opposed to natural persons, could be held liable under ATS was not at issue. By 2008, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Romero v. Drummond Company, could quickly dispense with the issue holding that, “The text of the Alien Tort Statute provides no express exception for corporations[.]” This acceptance came to a halt when in 2010, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell, held that corporations could not be held liable under the ATS because corporate liability was not sufficiently developed under customary international law (as opposed to US law). The US Supreme Court avoided addressing the issue when Kiobel was before it in 2013, instead finding a lack of jurisdiction over the Dutch, corporate defendant due to a presumption against extraterritoriality. Notably, not all courts followed Kiobel; the Seventh Circuit, in the 2011 case of Flomo v. Firestone National Rubber Company, kept the doors open to corporate ATS cases.  

  • October 10, 2017

    by Samuel Rubinstein, Strategic Engagement Fellow, American Constitution Society

    In North Carolina, the General Assembly is advancing a proposal that would add judges and district attorneys to a growing list of gerrymandered districts that already includes members of Congress and state legislators. The new maps will cut the number of judicial districts from eight to five, diluting the strength of urban votes. The new map cracks apart countywide districts in urban areas such as Wake and Durham counties. To accommodate their deliberations, the legislature moved to scrap judicial primaries planned for early next year, further tampering with voters’ choices.

  • October 6, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Richard C. Reuben, James Lewis Parks Professor of Law and Journalism, University of Missouri School of Law

    Chief Justice Roberts's concerns about the integrity of the court being diminished if the court starts hearing partisan gerrymandering claims is overwrought and disappointing.

    The truth is, ANYTIME the court opens up a new area, as sometimes it must to enforce the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights, there will be some cases that will need to be decided to flesh out the details. Fear of more cases, for example, certainly hasn't deterred the court from deciding questions regarding the death penalty, abortion, and affirmative action to name just a few.

    What happens is that the court uses subsequent cases to provide additional guidance and things settle down as the lower courts learn to apply the new constitutional standards and only the cases that get to the court thereafter are where the courts of appeal are in significant disagreement.

  • October 5, 2017
    Guest Post
    Muslim Ban Airport

    by Cody Wofsy, Staff Attorney and Skadden Fellow, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project

    *This piece was originally posted on ACLU's Speak Freely blog

    President Trump signed the third version of his Muslim ban executive order on Sept. 24, about two weeks before the case involving the second version of the ban was to be argued before the Supreme Court. This action led the court to cancel oral arguments on the earlier version so that the parties could address whether the new order renders the Trump administration’s appeal moot.

    In the meantime, the ACLU has returned to the federal district court to challenge the new order, which is set to go into effect on Oct. 18.

  • October 4, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Ruben J. Garcia, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas. Garcia is a member of the ACS Board of Directors and Board of Academic Advisors.

    In 1932 and 1935, Congress declared the public policy of the United States in labor matters as follows:

    “[I]t is necessary that [the individual unorganized worker] have full freedom of association, self-organization…in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization, or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…”.

    In Section 3 of the Norris LaGuardia Act, Congress declared that contracts which conflict with the public policy declared above to be “unenforceable in any court of the United States.” Congress has not repealed or retracted these declarations.