Why I was in Brazil

A bit on personal jurisdiction in international actions

I wanted to post a bit more on something I said in class about personal jurisdiction in international actions (that is, concerning defendants who are not citizens of the US and not currently present within our borders).

The idea is this: In Pennoyer v. Neff, prevailing international law on personal jurisdiction was folded into the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. When the law of personal jurisdiction was transformed in International Shoe, we could read this in one of two ways. (1) By US lights, international law on personal jurisdiction had been transformed. That would mean International Shoe clearly applies in international actions (something the Supreme Court assumes in Asahi and McIntyre). The problem with that position is that the Supreme Court makes no effort to look to principles of international law anymore in answering personal jurisdiction questions. (2) The linkage between due process and international law on personal jurisdiction has been severed. But if that’s so then there is an argument that this severance should be true only for US defendants. Over alien defendants the principles of international law should apply, principles that can diverge from International Shoe.

Through some westlawing I came across an article that offers something like this argument: Austen L. Parrish, Sovereignty, Not Due Process: Personal Jurisdiction Over Nonresident Alien Defendants, 41 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1 (2006).

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