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Recent Cases

134 S.Ct. 746 (2014)

INTRODUCTION

In the years following International Shoe, most corporations accepted the idea that being licensed to do business, maintaining a branch or having substantial ongoing business in a state created general jurisdiction, thereby allowing the corporation to be sued in that state even where the claim was unrelated to the corporation’s activities in the state.  However, in the recent case Daimler AG v. Bauman , the United States Supreme Court clarified that the terms “continuous,” “systematic” and “substantial” should be understood differently in the context of general jurisdiction. In doing so, the Supreme Court further restricted the circumstances under which plaintiffs can sue foreign corporations in the U.S. for injuries occurring outside of the U.S.

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2013 WL 4405689 (3d Cir. 2013)

INTRODUCTION

An immigrant’s chances of becoming a naturalized United States citizen are severally limited if he or she is convicted of a crime. Specifically, when an aggravated felony has been committed, an immigrant’s “good moral character” is questioned, which typically prevents him or her from becoming a naturalized citizen. Since the statutory definition for an aggravated felony was developed, the list of crimes it encompasses has expanded. For instance, murder, illegal drug trafficking, and minor theft violations are all now part of this same category of offense. Crimes that potentially imprison a defendant for life are within the same bracket as those that only require one year of imprisonment. As a result, an immigrant who committed a crime, served time in prison, and paid his or her debt to society, can still be held accountable for those actions years later when applying for citizenship. And, because the consequences of crimes can be retroactively applied, an immigrant could be unaware of the ramifications of a minor offense they committed many years ago.

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2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 117156

INTRODUCTION

Larry Bollinger, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor from Gaston, North Carolina, was a missionary in Haiti. Bollinger was sentenced to 25 years in prison after admitting to molesting underage girls while in Haiti. Bollinger admitted to his crimes during a visit with a therapist in Texas and was soon after arrested. President Clinton signed the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography.  The United States, by enacting the Optional Protocol, committed to enacting and enforcing legislation preventing the sexual exploitation of children by American citizens abroad. Three years later, President Bush signed the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003. This act also combated sexual assaults by its citizens in an international area. Bollinger, charged with engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors, argued that 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c) violated his Due Process rights under the Fifth Amendment. 

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720 F.3d 96 (2d Cir. 2013)

INTRODUCTION

It is an unfortunate truth that the technological advances of the last century, which have “simplified travel, enhanced communication between countries, and allowed the people of each country to become part of a global community with common interests and problems,” have also resulted in an increase in child abductions across international borders. In order to address such complex cross-border custody disputes, the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Abduction (“Convention”) was drafted to prevent an abducting parent from seeking a more “favorable custody decision in another country by requiring the return of an abducted child to the jurisdiction of his or her home country.” The recent case, Souratgar v. Lee, considered whether appellant Lee’s affirmative defenses against repatriation of her son, Shayan, should have prevailed in district court.

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2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17160

INTRODUCTION

In Blue Ridge Invs., L.L.C. v. Republic of Argentina, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that: (1) the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to consider the District Court’s rejection of Argentina’s assertion of foreign sovereign immunity under the collateral order doctrine; (2) the Court of Appeals would not exercise pendent appellate jurisdiction to consider whether the District Court erred in concluding that Blue Ridge could state a claim to confirm the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) award because that issue was not “inextricably intertwined” with the District Court’s foreign sovereign immunity decision; and (3) the District Court correctly concluded that Argentina waived its foreign sovereign immunity pursuant to the implied waiver exception and the arbitral award exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

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2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 117528

INTRODUCTION

In July and August of 2006, hundreds of civilians were injured or killed in Northern Israel as a result of rocket attacks perpetrated by the terrorist organization, Hezbollah. In the 2013 case, Kaplan v. Cent. Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia determined whether the Plaintiffs, (American, Canadian, and Israeli civilians), their family members, and personal representatives could recover from the Defendant, the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who, among others, was a means of constant ideological and financial support to Hezbollah. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the lawsuit did not present a non-justiciable political question and found that it could make a determination based on the merits of the case. However, on the merits, the Court found that the Plaintiffs were unable to recover under several doctrines, specifically, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

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2013 WL 4130756

INTRODUCTION

In Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, the United States District Court for Massachusetts held five things: (1) the Court had jurisdiction over the defendant under the Alien Tort Statute; (2) SMU had individual standing; (3) SMU had associational standing; (4) the First Amendment does not protect the defendant’s actions; and (5) the defendant’s motion to dismiss state law claims was denied pending full discovery.

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[2012] UKSC 48

INTRODUCTION

During the commencement of the Iraq War, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding, outlining the process for transferring and removing persons captured during the war.  The terms of this Memorandum of Understanding accord with the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War ("GC3"), the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War ("GC4"), and customary international law.  In the recent decision Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs v. Rahmatullah, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom considers how these Conventions and customary international law affects the United Kingdom’s obligations toward detainees, and seeks to define who may enjoy the protection of the Geneva Conventions and customary international law.

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AE104F 1, 1 (Jan. 15, 2013)

INTRODUCTION

In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court recognized that when executive discretion is exercised no authority could interfere with such power. Political issues "respect the nation, not the individual rights, and being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive." The judiciary has consistently found that national security issues create political questions that are best deferred to the executive branch. Executive deference is necessary because judges are perceived to lack the requisite expertise in foreign policy to discern what information can be disclosed to the public and when disclosure will compromise national security. Furthermore, executive deference is given to inhibit the judiciary from usurping executive functions. National security policies post-9/11 have been challenged on the grounds that they infringe upon individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

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HUDOC (Jan. 15 2013)

INTRODUCTION

The rise of religious diversity and “hardening of secularism” in contemporary European society raises concerns over the presence of religion in the work place.  Employers and employees are increasingly placed at odds in a society “riven by conflict” between religion and sexual orientation.  May an employer restrict an employee’s right to personally display a religious symbol? Can an employee be dismissed for refusing toprovide services to homosexuals due to his religious convictions?  In the recent case, Eweida & Others v. U.K., the European Court of Human Rights answered these very questions and determined permissible restrictions on the right to manifest religious beliefs in the work place.

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