October 11, 2017
Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering
On Wednesday, October 11, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC. At stake will be the president and the Congress’s control of foreign policy, unquestioned since the Founding. Few developments could be more detrimental — even catastrophic — to our national security than for the justices to change that.
The formal question before the Court is strictly legal: May corporations be sued under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute? There is disagreement on this point of law in the federal judiciary and the larger legal community. What cannot be denied is that allowing the 6000 lawsuits (alleging that the bank held accounts for people who later appeared on anti-terror lists) against Arab Bank involved in Jesner to go ahead would undermine U.S. relations with Jordan, dangerously destabilize that ally and jeopardize the security of another key ally, Israel. The legal door opened would leave relations with every country in the world a potential hostage to U.S.-based lawsuits.
To read the article in its entirety on The Hill, click here.