Samantar v. Yousuf and Executive Branch Influence Over Foreign Official Immunity Open Access
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The Supreme Court ruling in Samantar v. Yousuf resolved the split in the circuit courts with regard to whether defendants in civil lawsuits who were individual foreign officials could receive immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA). The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that they could not. Under the common law, the Executive Branch may now continue to issue binding "suggestions of immunity" to the courts when determining whether to grant or deny immunity to an individual foreign official. This paper discusses the Court's reasoning behind its decision in Samantar and the reasons why the Executive Branch, and not the judiciary, should exercise primary control over immunity determinations for individual foreign officials in the future.