S. Ct. Cites to VJIL

JAM v. International Finance Corp.


139 S. Ct. 759 (2019)

JAM answers the question whether the International Organizations Immunities Act (“IOIA”) of 1945 “grants international organizations the virtually absolute immunity foreign governments enjoyed when the IOIA was enacted, or the more limited immunity they enjoy today.”

In dissent, Justice Breyer cites to the Virginia Journal of International Law as persuasive authority. The majority’s opinion, writes Breyer, threatens multilateralism because “one nation alone, through application of its own liability rules (by nonexpert judges), can shape the policy choices or actions that an international organization believes it must take or refrain from taking.” See below for the relevant passage.

“By restricting the immunity that international organizations enjoy, [the Court] ‘opens the door to divided decisions of the courts of different member states,’ including U.S. courts, ‘passing judgment on the rules, regulations, and decisions of international bodies.’ Broadbent v. Organization of Am. States, 628 F.2d 27, 35 (CADC 1980); cf. Singer, Jurisdictional Immunity of International Organizations: Human Rights and Functional Necessity Concerns, 36 Va. J. Int’l L. 53, 63-64 (1995) (recognizing that ‘[i]t would be inappropriate for municipal courts to cut deep into the region of autonomous decision-making authority of institutions such as the World Bank.’).”

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