Six days after hearing arguments in a major human rights case about whether corporations may be sued for complicity in torture abroad, the Supreme Court on Monday instructed the parties to address an even broader question.
The court called for additional briefs to be filed by June and a reargument to be held during the court’s next term, which starts in October.
John Bellinger of Lawfare speculates:
The Court’s order may reflect that a majority or plurality of the justices would like to decide the case on the larger issue of whether the Alien Tort Statute even applies to torts committed in other countries, rather than on the narrower issue of corporate liability, and that other justices want to have more briefing on the issue, which was not addressed by the Second Circuit. As I noted in my post about last week’s oral argument, Justices Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito focused almost all of their questions on the diplomatic tensions and problems under international law caused by extraterritorial application of the ATS. This was also the issue that I addressed in my own amicus brief, and that was the focus of the amicus briefs of the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany.