73 Am. U. L. Rev. 507 (2024).

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The Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) is a U.S. federal law dating back to 1789 that allows non-U.S. citizens to file civil lawsuits in federal courts against individuals or entities for alleged international law violations. While originally interpreted to address piracy and the safeguarding of foreign diplomats, the ATS gained new relevance in the late twentieth century when it was used to hold individuals and corporations accountable for human rights abuses committed abroad, making it a critical tool in seeking justice for human rights violations.

This Comment argues that there is no longer a realistic federal forum for ATS suits against foreign or domestic corporations. Through a series of decisions, the Supreme Court has effectively precluded federal courts from hearing suits against corporations under the ATS. Furthermore, the failure to provide a federal forum for civil tort claims against corporations for violations of international law under the ATS is a departure from precedent and the United States’ international and domestic legal obligations. Given the status of ATS claims against corporations in federal court, this Comment concludes that state courts are the most viable and necessary forum for tort suits against corporations for violations of international law.

* Senior Staffer, American University Law Review, Volume 73; J.D. Candidate, May 2024, American University Washington College of Law; B.A., Political Science, 2020, The Ohio State University.

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