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Oct 11, 12:38 PM EDT

Justices could rule out business liability under 1789 law


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court appears ready to rule out lawsuits in U.S. courts against businesses by foreign victims of human rights abuses and extremist attacks.

The justices have heard argument in a case brought by Israeli victims of attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza during the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Those victims claim that the Jordan-based Arab Bank helped finance the attacks.

The issue is whether the foreigners can use an 18th-century law to the bank accountable for its role.

The court already has limited the ability of foreign victims to sue under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute.

It appears from the argument Wednesday that the five conservative justices could find that corporations can't be sued at all under that law.

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