Drugs on a Plane: Sherman Plano Federal Court International Jurisdiction (Part Two)

AirplaneAisle-300x200However, there is a “longstanding principle of American law that legislation of Congress, unless a contrary intent appears, is meant to apply only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” Morrison v. Nat’l Austl. Bank Ltd., 561 U.S. 247, 255, (2010)   “The presumption against extraterritoriality is only a presumption; it is overcome by clearly expressed Congressional intent for a statute to apply extraterritorially.” Weiss v. Nat’l Westminster Bank PLC, 768 F.3d 202, 211 (2d Cir. 2014)United States v. Vilar, 729 F.3d 62, 72 (2d Cir. 2013) (recognizing that presumption against extraterritoriality applies to criminal, as well as civil, statutes but that “it is beyond doubt that, as a general proposition, Congress has the authority to enforce its laws beyond the territorial boundaries of the United States” (internal quotations omitted)).  Because the presumption is only “a canon of statutory interpretation,” Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659, 1664, 185 L.Ed.2d 671 (2013), whether Congress evinces an intent for the law to apply extraterritorially is likewise a question of statutory interpretation. See, e.g., United States v. MacAllister, 160 F.3d 1304, 1307 (11th Cir. 1998) (“Whether Congress has intended extraterritorial application is a question of statutory interpretation.”); United States v. Thomas, 893 F.2d 1066, 1068 (9th Cir. 1990) (“Whether 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) applies to Thomas’ extraterritorial acts is, therefore, a question of statutory interpretation.”).

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