This Supreme Court Case Could Have a Big Impact on US Foreign Policy

A case that is pending before the Supreme Court of the United States could have profound implications for human rights and corporate social responsibility around the world. The case is called Jesner v. Arab Bank and it is a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs allege that Arab Bank, which is a Jordanian financial institution, facilitated payments to terrorist groups that carried out attacks in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, killing and injuring them.

Under normal circumstances, a case involving foreign victims of a terrorist attack carried out on foreign soil by a foreign group would typically not be the business of the US legal system. But the plaintiffs in this case are pursing damages using a law that has been on the books since the 18th century, called the Alien Tort Statute. According to my guest Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, this statute could influence corporate decision making and even US foreign policy.

Zachary D. Kaufman is a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and teaching at Stanford Law School — he is also, like me, a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn how this court case could change how companies around the world do business, have a listen.

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