In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, decided on by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Stephen Breyer cited a note by Kathryn Metcalf '11 in the Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law to support his argument that other nations allow lawsuits brought by foreigners against foreigners based on conduct abroad (
Metcalf, Reparations for Displaced Torture Victims, 19 Cardozo J. Int’l & Comp. L. 451, 468–470 (2011).
Kiobel concerns a law, the Alien Tort Statue (ATS), which allows foreigners to sue in U.S. courts for grave violations of international law, such as torture. The issue decided was whether the ATS applies to action outside the United States. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that the ATS does not apply to actions done wholly outside the United States.
Justice Breyer (and three other Justices) concurred in the outcome of the case but disagreed with Chief Justice Roberts's logic. These Justices believe that the ATS should apply to some acts taken outside the United States, but agree that the acts in Kiobel are not covered by the ATS.