October 1, 2012
AMERICAN IMPERIALISM, PROGRESSIVE STYLE: We all know how the progressives/liberals decry American “imperialism” every chance they get. In a classic case of hypocrisy, however, they’re asking the Supreme Court today, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum, to open up U.S. courts to tort claims filed against U.S. corporations for “human rights” violations the corporations allegedly committed in other countries. Their argument for this ludicrous overreach of US sovereignty? The Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which says:
The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.
The ATS was designed to protect foreign ambassadors harmed on U.S. soil, allowing such state-law torts to be heard by the more objective and interested U.S. (as opposed to state) courts. Using it to open U.S. courthouse doors for any alleged human rights atrocity claimed “by an alien for a tort” committed overseas is not only a perversion of the statute’s meaning (aka, congressional intent) but also the very kind of aggressive use of U.S. jurisdiction that progressives normally condemn.
Oh, that’s right: It’s okay to ignore U.S. sovereign jurisdictional limits when it’s for the “right” reasons.