The Washington Foreign Law Society
International Human Rights in the Supreme Court: 2021 Term
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021
from 5:30 to 6:30 PM EST
– This event is co-sponsored by ASIL, the American Society of International Law, and by the ABA International Law Section –

A panel of distinguished scholars and journalists will critique important new Supreme Court decisions defining the claims that may be brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Alien Tort Statute involving human rights violations in foreign states. The Court ruled in genocide cases brought against Germany and Hungary that the FSIA expropriation exception does not apply to a state’s taking of property from its own nationals, and will soon issue decisions in two ATS cases brought against U.S. corporations alleging use of child slavery in cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast.  The discussion will focus on hot topics, including the future of human rights litigation in U.S. courts, corporate responsibility for rights abuses abroad, an Original view of the ATS, and surprising uses of textualism on the Roberts court.

Mark B. Feldman, Georgetown Law
Lori Fisler Damrosch, Columbia Law
Thomas Lee, Fordham Law
Robert Barnes, Washington Post

Lori Fisler Damrosch is the Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy at Columbia Law School. Prior to joining the Law School in 1984, she served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State (1977-81) and practiced with the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell (1981-84). Publications include International Law: Cases and Materials (7th ed. 2019, with Sean Murphy); Beyond Confrontation: International Law in the Post-Cold War Era (1995); Enforcing Restraint: Collective Intervention in Internal Conflicts (1993); Law and Force in the New International Order (1991, with David Scheffer); and The International Court of Justice at a Crossroads (1987). She has served as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of International Law (2003-13) and as president (2014-16) and honorary vice president (2016) of the American Society of International Law. She was elected to the Institut de droit international in 2009.


Thomas Lee is the Leitner Family Professor of International Law at Fordham Law School. He is also Of Counsel at Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, adjunct professor at NYU School of Law, and a member of the ICSID Panel of Conciliators. He has written many articles about international law, U.S. foreign relations law, constitutional law, federal courts, and legal history. He has also been a visiting law professor at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Virginia; US law adviser to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea; and Special Counsel at the Department of Defense. Before his academic career, Lee clerked for Judge Michael Boudin of the First Circuit and Justice David Souter of the Supreme Court and served as a U.S. naval cryptology officer, mostly aboard submarines but also ashore in Korea, Japan, and with the National Security Agency.


Robert Barnes has spent most of his career at The Washington Post, as a reporter and editor. He joined the paper as a political reporter, and has served in various editing positions, including metropolitan editor and national political editor. He has covered the Supreme Court since November 2006, with a brief break to cover the conclusion of the 2008 presidential campaign. He covered the Supreme Court nominations of Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.


Mark B. Feldman teaches foreign relations law at Georgetown.  As Deputy and Acting Legal Adviser (1974-81), Professor Feldman played a major role in drafting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Iran Claims Agreement.  He negotiated the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property as well as U.S. maritime boundaries with Canada, Cuba and Mexico.  Professor Feldman issued the first State Department suggestion of immunity for a foreign official in 1976 and initiated the 1967 Alaska Treaty line as the maritime boundary with Russia. In private practice, Professor Feldman established the treaty exception to the federal act of state doctrine in the Kalamazoo Spice cases and chaired the ABA committee responsible for the 1988 amendments to the FSIA, including the arbitration exception. He advised Disney on arbitration procedures for its Park near Paris, and argued for the United States in the Gulf of Maine case at the ICJ. His work, publications and Congressional testimony are described at

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