Suing Americans under International Law - in American Courts

Imagine you go overseas and give a speech advocating a cause, only to come home and find you're being sued for "crimes against humanity." No, what you did wasn't illegal under American law or under the laws of the nation in which you expressed your words. You're being sued under international law. And here's the kicker: Your case will be adjudicated by an American court. Foreign law in a U.S. court? This is precisely what befell Massachusetts native Pastor Scott Lively after he gave some speeches critical of homosexuality in Uganda and elsewhere. The suit was filed on behalf of activist group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU) by an organization with the temerity to call itself the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) (emphasis added). The legal action is based on, wrote The New York Times in 2012, "the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations asserting the violation of international law." SMU claims that Lively incited "the persecution...(Read Full Article)

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