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News Posted on July 6, 2017

Professor Dodge Files Amicus Brief in Human Rights Case with U.S. Supreme Court

Professor William S. Dodge has filed an amicus brief on behalf of international law scholars with the U.S. Supreme Court in Jesner v. Arab Bank, LLC (No. 16-499). The Second Circuit held that corporations could not be held liable for violations of human rights in suits brought under the Alien Tort Statute because customary international law does not recognize a norm of corporate liability. The amicus brief argues that the Second Circuit fundamentally misunderstood how international law works. Because customary international law establishes norms of conduct but leaves the enforcement of those norms to states, it makes no sense to ask whether there is a general norm of corporate liability in international law. Nor are limitations on enforcement mechanisms, like international criminal tribunals, limitations on the underlying norms. Amici include Judge Thomas Buergenthal, Douglass Cassel, Sarah Cleveland, Lori Damrosch, Justice Richard Goldstone, Saira Mohamed, Gerald Neuman, Bernard Oxman, Steven Ratner, and Ralph Steinhardt.

Professor Dodge is Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law. He serves as a Co-Reporter for the American Law Institute's Restatement (Fourth) of Foreign Relations Law: Jurisdiction and as a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law. From 2011 to 2012, he served as Counselor on International Law at the U.S. Department of State. He is a co-author of the casebook Transnational Business Problems and a co-editor of International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change, which won the American Society of International Law's 2012 certificate of merit. He has authored more than 50 other publications in books and law reviews.