Foreign Tyranny by U.S. Lawsuit

(This op-ed was first published in the Wall Street Journal on September 2, 2020.)

Dictators from Napoleon III to Fidel Castro have taken advantage of the American legal system.

Diego Zambrano 1

If you have a grievance against a foreign government, it’s almost impossible to find redress in U.S. courts. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 bars most such claims. But there’s no bar to foreign governments bringing cases as plaintiffs—and dictators have increasingly taken advantage of the U.S. legal system to pursue political ends and strengthen their rule.

As the Journal reported recently, the Chinese Communist Party has systematically used U.S. civil lawsuits as part of a “multidimensional legal war” to harass dissidents and force them to return to China.

(Continue reading the op-ed on the Wall Street Journal’s page here.)

Diego Zambrano is an assistant professor at Stanford Law School. His primary research and teaching interests lie in the areas of civil procedure, transnational litigation, and federalism. His work generally explores the civil litigation landscape: the institutions, practices, and incentives that influence litigant choices and outcomes, including how parties in the legal system strategically shape and respond to procedural rules.