Supreme Court Curbs Human-Rights Cases Against Corporations

Wall Street Journal
April 24, 2018
Jess Bravin

The Supreme Court limited foreign victims of terrorism, torture and other international crimes in their use of U.S. courts to sue corporations they say helped perpetrate abuses, ruling that a centuries-old statute at the heart of major human-rights cases could be employed only against individuals.

The court split 5-4 along ideological lines on Tuesday to pare back the Alien Tort Statute, which authorizes citizens of foreign states to seek redress in federal court for violations of the “law of nations.” The majority, led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said exposing “foreign multinational corporations” to liability in American courts for such abuses exacerbated diplomatic tensions, contrary to the legislation’s goal.

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