Penn State International Law Review


This Comment, consisting of three main parts, examines the cause of action issue that arose in Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic and places it in the context of the Alien Tort Claims Act's (ACTA) prior history. The first part focuses on the three instances in which a federal court has used the statute to exercise jurisdiction in an alien tort action. The second part examines the Tel-Oren case, centering on two of the three concurrences forming the District of Columbia Court of Appeals' decision. The third part suggests that proving a distinct cause of action embodied in the law of nations is not necessary to utilize ATCA. Rather, a method of statutory construction is proposed that enables courts to infer a right to relief pursuant to ATCA itself. After examining relevant case law and policy, this Comment concludes that inferring a cause of action under ATCA is desirable. An analytical framework is then proposed to facilitate judicial attempts to make the necessary inference.