50th Anniversary of Sabbatino Decision

On March 23, 1964, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, a seminal case in the fields of international law and foreign policy law.

In Sabbatino, the Firm won the celebrated Supreme Court ruling that the courts of the United States will not, with limited exceptions, question the legality of the acts of a foreign sovereign done within its own territory, even if those acts are allegedly in violation of international law.

The Sabbatino decision is the foundation of the modern “act of state” doctrine, which insulates sovereign acts from attack in the courts of the United States in most circumstances.

The Supreme Court has cited its Sabbatino decision over 40 times in subsequent decisions, and the lower federal courts have cited Sabbatino over 600 times.