This Note proposes that the Court erred in the recent decision, Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC, when it failed to adopt a standard that remained faithful to Congress’s intent at the inception of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS): to remedy human rights violations while remaining relevant to the global economy. In Jesner, the Court was asked to reassess whether the ATS categorically forecloses corporate liability. Although the controversy surrounding the jurisdictional reach of the ATS is well placed, the statute has allowed for U.S. courts to fill the international void for a forum that adjudicates human rights. This Note discusses why corporations should be liable for human rights violations under the ATS.
This Note begins by explaining the historical circumstances that inspired Congress to implement the ATS. Part II explains the international significance of the statute and why civil remedies are preferable to criminal liability. Part III of this Note provides insight into modern cases that shaped the application of the ATS. Part IV explains why the Supreme Court in Jesner had the potential to permanently shift the tides of corporate liability. After discussing scholars’ reasoning against corporate liability in Part V, this Note concludes by asserting that the Supreme Court should have ruled in favor of corporate liability under the ATS by applying the theory of universal jurisdiction.