Supreme Court to Decide Whether U.S. Corporations Can Be Sued for Abuses Overseas
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday on whether U.S.-based corporations can be sued in U.S. courts for human rights abuses committed overseas. The case involves nine Nigerian activists, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed for protesting Royal Dutch Shell. We’re joined by Marco Simons, legal director of EarthRights International, which filed a "friend of the court" legal brief in this case and has been a pioneer in using the Alien Tort Statute to sue corporations for human rights abuses in Burma, Nigeria, Colombia and other nations. Some legal analysts are comparing the case to the landmark campaign finance ruling in Citizens United, which found that corporations have broad rights under the First Amendment and can directly fund political campaigns. "This case is really about whether a corporation that participates in serious human rights abuses, such as crimes against humanity or genocide or state-sponsored torture, can profit from those abuses and shield those profits from the victims when the victims come to take them to court," Marco says.
Marco Simons, legal director of EarthRights International.