Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


The Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, provides federal jurisdiction for aliens to sue aliens for torts "committed in violation of the law of nations." Since the Second Circuit's landmark decision in Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, 630 F.2d 876 (2d Cir. 1980), holding that the statute allows federal courts to adjudicate violations of customary international human rights norms, it has proven to be the most important domestic judicial mechanism for the enforcement and advancement of international human rights. In 1988, the Justice Department filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in a consolidated appeal from several Alien Tort Statute cases filed against Ferdinand Marcos, and argued that the Alien Tort Statute should be restrictively construed to deny jurisdiction to virtually all human rights cases. This Article reprints an amicus brief filed on behalf of nineteen international law scholars and practitioners in response to the Justice Department's brief.