The Supreme Court will not rule this term on whether corporations can be held liable for human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).  Yesterday, in an unusual move, the Court instead decided that it will re-hear arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and requested additional briefing on the question of whether ATS cases can be brought in U.S. courts for abuses committed abroad.

The order for additional briefing (to be filed in May and June) and re-argument (likely to be held in October or November) means the case could now have broader implications.  If decided on the grounds of extraterritoriality, the outcome in Kiobel could affect all ATS cases, not only those against corporate defendants.