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Law Professors Joan Fitzpatrick et al. respectfully request leave to file a Statement Amicus Curiae in the above styled action.
Amici are interested in questions of statutory construction as they relate to binding norms of international law in the United States. The District Court's ruling, which unwittingly contravenes these norms, is of great concern to amici.
Amici are professors of law expert in the fields of statutory construction, international law and the application of international law by the courts of the United States, as more particularly set forth below. The views of jurists on points of international law are taken into account when such questions arise in U.S. courts. See, e.g., The Paquete Habana, 175 U.S. 677, 700 (1900); United States v. Smith, 18 U.S. 153, 160-61 (1820).
Joan Fitzpatrick, is Professor of Law and Foundation Scholar, University of Washington. Prof. Fitzpatrick has published numerous articles on the subject of international human rights law, including International Human Rights Law in U.S. Courts: A Comparative Perspective, 14 Mich. J. Int'l L. 1 (1992), and Enforcing International Human Rights Law, 19 Whittier L. Rev. 267 (1997).
Gregory H. Fox is Senior Fellow, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. Mr. Fox's publications include International Law Decisions in National Courts (with Thomas M. Franck) (1996).
Natsu Taylor Saito is Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University. Prof. Saito's publications include Beyond Civil Rights: Considering "Third Generation" International Human Rights Law in the United States, 28 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 387 (1997).
Ralph G. Steinhardt is Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law and Director, International & Comparative Law Program, George Washington University; he is also Co-Director, Oxford Programme in International Human Rights Law. Prof. Steinhardt has published widely on the subject of international law and statutory construction; his writings include The Role of International Law as a Canon of Domestic Statutory Construction, 43 Vand. L. Rev. 1103 (1990), and Fulfilling the Promise of Filartiga: Litigating Human Rights Claims Against the Estate of Ferdinand Marcos, 20 Yale J. Int'l L. 65 (1995).
Johan D. van der Vyver is I.T. Cohen Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Emory University. Prof. van der Vyver is the author of many books and close to two hundred law review articles, popular notes, chapters in books, and book reviews; his publications include Sovereignty and Human Rights in Constitutional and International Law, 5 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 321 (1991).
As demonstrated above, amici, through scholarship and practice, have contributed to the development of jurisprudence on various questions related to the pending matter. Amici therefore seek leave to present their views to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit of the United States concerning the construction of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), in light of the international legal obligations of the United States, in the context of the present appeal of the decision of the District Court.
This brief uses Courier 12 point type.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF INTERESTED PERSONS
STATEMENT OF INTERESTS OF AMICI
CERTIFICATE OF TYPE SIZE AND STYLE
TABLE OF CITATIONS
STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES
SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
I. TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT, WHETHER PHYSICAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL, ARE ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES.
II. NEITHER CONGRESS NOR THE PRESIDENT INDICATED THAT SECTION 1997E(E) OVERRIDES THE PROHIBITIONS ON TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT.
III. WELL-ESTABLISHED RULES OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION DICTATE THAT COURTS CONSTRUE THE PLRA IN LIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES' INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS.
IV. AFFIRMING THE DISTRICT COURT'S INTERPRETATION OF SECTION 1997E(E) WOULD ALTER THE BALANCE OF POWERS AMONG BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, GIVE IMPUNITY TO VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND RISK HARMING THE UNITED STATES' INTERESTS.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
TABLE OF CITATIONS
Abebe-Jira v. Negewo, 72 F.3d 844 (11th Cir. 1996)
Ahmed v. Austria, 24 Eur. H.R. Rep. 278 (1996) (Eur. Ct. H.R.)
Burton v. Livingston, 791 F.2d 97 (8th Cir. 1986)
Chahal v. U.K., 23 Eur. H.R. Rep. 413 (1996) (Eur. Ct. H.R.)
Chicago & Southern Air Lines, Inc. v. Waterman S.S. Corp., 333 U.S. 103 (1948)
Cooper v. Casey, 97 F.3d 914 (7th Cir. 1996)
Douglas v. Marino, 684 F. Supp. 395 (D. N.J. 1988)
Estrella v. Uruguay, Communication No. 74/1980, reprinted in 2 Selected Decisions of the Human Rights Committee Under the Optional Protocol 93 (1980)
Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, 630 F.2d 876 (2nd Cir. 1980)
Finzer v. Barry, 798 F.2d 1450 (D.C. Cir. 1986)
Garcia-Mir v. Meese, 788 F.2d 1446 (11th Cir. 1986)
Greek Case, 12 Y.B. Eur. Conv. On H.R. 1 (1969) (Eur. Comm'n on H.R.)
Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. California, 509 U.S. 764 (1993)
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1 (1992)
Ireland v. U.K., 25 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 59 (1978)
Jama v. INS, No. Civ. 97-3093 (DRD), 1998 WL 684473 (D.N.J. Oct. 1, 1998)
Jordan v. Gardner, 986 F.2d 1521 (9th Cir. 1992)
Minanga v. Zaire, Communication No. 366/1989, reprinted in 1 Int'l Hum. Rts. R. 2/158 (1994)
Murray v. The Charming Betsy, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 64 (1804)
Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518 (10th Cir. 1992)
Parrish v. Johnson, 800 F.2d 600 (6th Cir. 1986)
Paul v. Avril, 901 F. Supp. 330 (S.D. Fla. 1994) (final judgment)
Thomas v. Farley, 31 F.3d 557 (7th Cir. 1994)
Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Franklin Mint Corp., 466 U.S. 243 (1984)
Weinberger v. Rossi, 456 U.S. 25 (1982)
Williams v. Boles, 841 F.2d 181 (7th Cir. 1988)
Wisniewski v. Kennard, 901 F.2d 1276 (5th Cir. 1990)
Zehner v. Trigg, 133 F.3d 459 (7th Cir. 1997)
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, June 26, 1987, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dec. 19, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171
Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (1994)
Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996)
Torture Victim Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 102-256, 106 Stat. 73 (1992) (codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1350 note)
136 Cong. Rec. S17486-01 (daily ed. Oct. 27, 1990)
138 Cong. Rec. S4781-01 (daily ed. Apr. 2, 1992)
141 Cong. Rec. H1563 (daily ed. Feb. 10, 1995)
141 Cong. Rec. S14627 (daily ed. Sept. 29, 1995)
141 Cong. Rec. S14629 (daily ed. Sept. 29, 1995)
142 Cong. Rec. S2296 (daily ed. Mar. 19, 1996)
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Nov. 4, 1950, art. 3, Europ. T.S. No. 5
Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States § 111 cmt. H (1987)
S. Rep. No. 249, 102 Cong., 1st Sess. (1991)
Statement on Signing the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996, 32 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 726 (Apr. 29, 1996)