Anthony Kennedy

Justices could rule out business liability under 1789 law

The Supreme Court appears ready to rule out lawsuits in U.S. courts against businesses by foreign victims of human rights abuses and extremist attacks.

A case argued Wednesday pitted Israeli victims of attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in the 1990s and 2000s against Jordan-based Arab Bank. The victims claim that the bank helped finance the attacks.

The issue is whether the foreigners can use an 18th-century law to hold the bank accountable for its role.

The court already has limited the ability of foreign victims to sue under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute.

It appeared from the argument that the five conservative justices could find that corporations...

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