On October 11, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Jesner v. Arab Bank, a case that could settle whether the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a 1789 law that allows non-Americans to sue in U.S. courts for harms that violate international law, applies to corporations. The justices appeared divided, with some observers suggesting that the presumed swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, is leaning toward corporate immunity. As transnational corporations expand their footprints worldwide, meaningful access to justice for victims of corporate complicity in human rights abuses has proved elusive—and a decision for Arab Bank would put it even further out of reach.

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