Supreme Court asks US government to offer views in Saleh et al v CACI International

The Supreme Court opened a new Term on Monday by asking the federal government to offer its views on  lawsuits against private contractors who work overseas for the U.S. military.  The new case involves former Iraqi civilian detainees who had been held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison that the U.S. military operated in Baghdad during combat operations there. Scotus blog reports:

The petition in the case — Saleh, et al., v. CACI International and Titan Corp  — argued, with the support of international law scholars, retired military officers, and human rights activitists, that there is a sharp split among federal appeals courts on whether the U.S. Alien Tort Statute applied to private, non-state actors.  The former Abu Ghraib prisoners also argued that the D.C. Circuit Court has created an entirely unprecedented “battlefield preemption” doctrine that effectively insulates more than 200,000 employees of military contractors in Iraq from any form of legal accountability for wrongdoing.

The detainees’ lawsuit targeted CACI because it provided interrogators to the U.S. military, and Titan because it provided interpreters.   Two groups initially filed the lawsuit — seven Iraqis who claimed that they or their late husbands had been tortured at Abu Ghraib, and 12 Iraqis, the estate of one other, and 1,050 “John Does” representing other former detainees.  All of those still living remain residents of Iraq.

There is no deadline for the Solicitor General to response to any of Monday’s invitations for its views.

Title: Saleh v. Titan Corp.
Docket: 09-1313
Issue(s): 1)
Whether the court of appeals erred by finding that claims for torture
and other war crimes cannot be brought against private actors under the
Alien Tort Statute; and 2) whether the court of appeals erred by
creating a “battle-field preemption” doctrine that extends derivative
sovereign immunity to contractors.

Certiorari-Stage Documents:


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