Conventional wisdom and many lower court cases hold that foreign states are not entitled to constitutionally based personal jurisdiction protections in federal courts because they are not “persons” protected by the Fifth Amendment. That reasoning is incorrect.
Ingrid Wuerth is the Helen Strong Curry Professor of International Law at Vanderbilt Law School, where she also directs the international legal studies program. She is a leading scholar of foreign affairs, public international law and international litigation. She serves on the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Public International Law, she is a Reporter on the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Fourth) on U.S. Foreign Relations Law, and she is on the editorial board of the American Journal of International Law. She has won Fulbright and Alexander von Humboldt awards permitting her to spend substantial time in Germany and she is an elected member of the German Society of International Law.
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Two different groups of protesters have brought civil suits against Turkey in response to violence by Turkish security officials outside the ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. They have a surprisingly strong, if unconvincing, argument.
With the loss of any sort of global consensus on human rights and the threats to the international legal order itself, international law and human rights should consider going their separate ways.
The opinion, like the brief judgment previously released by the court, does not decide the important question of whether or not the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act affords immunity to foreign states and state-owned enterprises in criminal cases.
In re Grand Jury, the sealed appellate case linked to the Mueller investigation, highlights a topic of growing significance: criminal prosecutions of foreign-state owned enterprises.
Russia invoked sovereign immunity in the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against it.
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the International Organizations Immunities Act should not be read to mean that the former governs all questions of the immunity of international organizations.