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Other Grounds For Human Rights Litigation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses grounds for human rights litigation, both jurisdictional grounds and sources for a cause of action. It discusses Section 1331 jurisdiction over human rights claims. The chapter analyzes the debate over whether the federal courts can recognize a common law cause of action for such claims. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) provides additional grounds for jurisdiction over a human rights claim if two basic criteria are met: (1) the plaintiffs have suffered an "injury to business or property"; and (2) there is sufficient connection to the United States to justify extraterritorial application of the statute. In the context of human rights litigation, an initial question is whether RICO confers subject matter jurisdiction over foreign entities or acts and conspiracies occurring outside the United States. The federal courts have diversity jurisdiction over causes of action involving an alien and a U.S. citizen.

Keywords: extraterritorial jurisdiction; federal courts; human rights litigation; RICO



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