India and New York Will Square Off at US Supreme Court (Over Property Taxes)

by Julian Ku

During my recent blog-vacation, I didn’t notice that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari last week in a neat little case involving the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations v. the City of New York.

The dispute is whether New York City’s suit to to recover unpaid property taxes imposed on property owned by the Government of India is exempted from the general rule of foreign sovereign immunity. More interestingly, at least from my perspective, the case may also consider whether the lower court (the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Second Circuit) improperly relied on two international agreements regarding foreign sovereign immunity to which the United States is not a party in finding in favor of the City.

There are a lot of neat issues here about the level of judicial deference owed to the executive branch and the proper use of treaties to interpret federal statutes governing foreign sovereign immunity (some of which John Bellinger alluded to in his post last week here), but I won’t bore you with them at this point. This case, as well as the blockbuster Medellin case (which seems likely to win certiorari as well, see SCOTUSBlog’s summary here), are likely to be the U.S. Supreme Court’s leading international law cases this Term.

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