United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
680 F.3d 446 (4th Cir. 2012)
Abdi Wali Dire, et al. (defendants), Somali nationals, were captured attempting to take over the USS Nicholas, an American Navy ship. The defendants were captured before boarding the ship and thus before they had the opportunity commit robbery. The defendants were charged with piracy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In 1819, the United States Congress first prohibited piracy “as defined by the law of nations.” At the time, this definition was interpreted to include a requirement of robbery. As it existed at the time of the defendants’ conduct, piracy was still referenced in 18 U.S.C. § 1651 as “defined by the law of nations.” The defendants argued that the definition of piracy included a requirement of robbery, because that is how the term was defined when the United States Congress first passed the law regarding piracy. The defendants’ position was based on the notion that Congress in 1819 viewed the law of nations as static and, as a result, intended the definition of piracy to remain static as well. The defendants were convicted by the district court. They appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (King, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 222,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.