Good Law | Bad Law #77 - Did the Arab Bank foster terrorism? W/ Stephen Vladeck

Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Stephen Vladeck, co-host of the popular podcast “The National Security Law Podcast”, as well as a law professor at the University of Texas, School of Law. Stephen is also a consultant for CNN both on air and behind the scenes, as an analyst covering the Supreme Court.


Specializing in national security law, Stephen focuses his research on the intersection of the federal courts and national security law, access to justice, human rights law and more. In today’s episode, Aaron and Stephen discuss the Supreme Court case, Jesner Et Al. v. Arab Bank, PLC.


A matter with potentially wide-ranging implications, this case surrounds a series of five lawsuits that were filed against the Arab Bank in Federal District Court in Brooklyn between the years 2004 and 2010. The basic allegation uniting these five lawsuits and more than 6,000 plaintiffs is their claim as victims of terrorist attacks that happened overseas that they allege the Arab Bank was liable for. They claim that the Arab Bank was directly and indirectly responsible for financing and helping to facilitate a series of terrorist attacks in the Middle East over a ten year period that produced and resulted in the deaths and serious injuries of many of the plaintiffs and or their families.


Throughout the conversation, Aaron and Stephen discuss the ins and outs of the case, as well as the theoretical ramifications that could happen as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision.  Technically a private entity, the Arab Bank is a major financial institution with many branches and a wide global reach.


Join us today as Stephen Vladeck and Aaron Freiwald discuss this fascinating Supreme Court case and discuss the potential outcomes this case could have. Attached are the original complaint, as well as the opinion by Justice Kennedy, and the concurring opinions by Justices Alito and Gorsuch. The dissenting opinion by Justice Sotomayor is also included. The holding of the court was that foreign corporations may not be defendants in suits brought under the Alien Tort Statute. The judgment was affirmed in a 5-4 decision on April 24th.

Complaint & Opinions:


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Stephen Vladeck