From John Jay to John Roberts: The Law of Nations in U.S. Courts


Following the Washington Foreign Law Society's May 12 program on international human rights (, the Supreme Court decided Nestle v Doe, holding that the Alien Tort Statute does not support claims against U.S. corporations based on child slavery in foreign lands. Thomas Lee and Mark B. Feldman return to our platform to critique that decision and to discuss the role of customary international law as a rule of decision in U.S. courts from the time of George Washington to the present day.

In recent years, judges and scholars have vigorously debated whether the Supreme Court was correct to state, in cases such as The Paquete Habana (1900), that customary international law is part of the law of the United States. Influential voices argue that Congressional action is required to create a cause of action under international law. That issue was of central concern to the Justices in Nestle, and will be debated by our panel. Registrants will receive a list of notable citations in advance of the program.

Michael Teodori, Eni SpA; Chair of Programs, Washington Foreign Law Society

Mark B. Feldman, Georgetown Law
Thomas Lee, Fordham Law

Date and Location

Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm