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The Lawfare Podcast: Taking China to Court Over the Coronavirus

Jen Patja, Scott R. Anderson, Chimène Keitner, Robert D. Williams
Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

As the United States continues to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus, the controversy surrounding China's alleged role in the pandemic has continued to grow. In recent weeks, it has even entered the U.S. courts, as private plaintiffs have brought claims against the Chinese government and related institutions for allegedly contributing to the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, members of Congress have introduced legislation aimed at making such litigation even easier to pursue, specifically by stripping away the sovereign immunity protections that normally protect foreign states from such claims. But can these efforts really provide Americans with needed relief, or are they just a dangerous distraction from the real issues with the United States's own coronavirus response? To discuss these issues, Scott R. Anderson spoke with Chimène Keitner, the Alfred and Hanna Fromm Professor of International Law at the University of California Hastings School of Law, and Robert Williams, executive director of the Paul Tsai China Center at the Yale Law School.



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Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Chimène Keitner is Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California Davis School of Law. She is a leading authority on international law and civil litigation, and served as the 27th Counselor on International Law in the U.S. Department of State.
Robert Williams is a senior research scholar, lecturer, and executive director of the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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