Alien Tort Statute: A Discussion and Analysis of the History, Evolution, and Future

Publication Year:
Usage 57
Downloads 51
Abstract Views 6
Repository URL:
Yodlowski, Shane
Alien tort; Ats; Human rights; Human rights law; International law; Kiobel; Law; Supreme court; Legal Studies
artifact description
The Alien Tort Statute is a short, thirty-two word section of the United States Code enacted in 1789 as part of the Judiciary Act. The Alien Tort Statute, or ATS, has an uncertain and controversial beginning and remains controversial in current jurisprudence. The ATS reads as follows: “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." It is my intent for this thesis to be an academic discussion of the mysterious history, intent, and court cases that have evolved the ATS; and the way in which the evolution took place. Having lain dormant for almost two decades, it is important to understand how the ATS was finally utilized and how this affected the statutes ability to become a tool for human rights persecution abroad; until the decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. Examining the language of two opinions by the District Court of the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court in Kiobel we will be able to understand, but reject, the arguments of both these courts.