The topic of this panel is civil participation in the global trading system, with a particular focus on Doe v. Unocal Corp. and use of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) to enforce fundamental human rights norms against multinational corporations. These comments will therefore attempt to locate Doe v. Unocal and other ATS litigation in the broader efforts of civil society to establish and maintain normative principles for corporate responsibility in the global trading regime. This comment first explains the role of ATS litigation in the broader civil society context and the contribution of ATS cases to the development and enforcement of international human rights law. It then briefly responds to two recent criticisms of ATS litigation: that ATS litigation is spiraling out of control and that suits under the ATS improperly infringe on U.S. foreign relations. I argue that ATS litigation has played an important role in the recent overall global development of enforceable human rights norms, that traditional procedural and prudential mechanisms are working effectively to identify appropriate ATS claims, and that extraordinary measures such as the current administration's attempts to obtain dismissal of corporate ATS suits are contrary to longstanding U.S. human rights policy and simply damage the United States' standing as an international leader in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Business Organizations Law | Human Rights Law | Law
Sarah H. Cleveland,
The Alien Tort Statute, Civil Society, and Corporate Responsibility,
Rutgers U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/3426