Isolationism or Deference? The Alien Tort Claims Act and the Separation of Powers

This Note examines the rationales behind Filartiga and other cases which have had the opportunity to pass upon its holding, notably the holdings in Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic and Forti v. Suarez- Mason. It then focuses on the validity of these rationales with respect to the constitutional separation of powers scheme. In so doing, it analyzes Filartiga’s conclusions in light of the act of state and political question doctrines, two closely interrelated doctrines which have been at the forefront of the separation of powers criticisms of Filartiga. This Note concludes by suggesting that a clear case exists for the claim that human rights adjudications under the Alien Tort Claims Act do not violate the constitutional mandates of separation of powers.